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Publikacijo posvečamo 100. obletnici rojstva Zorana Kržišnika (1920-2008) Published on the occasion of  the 100th anniversary of the birth of Zoran Kržišnik (1920-2008)


Gregor Dražil »Menedžer da sem? Sem.«

“Am I a manager? Yes, I am.”

Zoran Kržišnik in začetki prodiranja slovenske moderne umetnosti na zahodno likovno prizorišče

Zoran Kržišnik and How Slovene Modern Art First Penetrated the Western Art World


»Menedžer da sem? Sem.«01

“Am I a manager? Yes, I am.”01

Ime Zorana Kržišnika (1920–2008) ne more umanjkati v skorajda nobeni zgodbi, povezani z zgodovino likovne umetnosti v Sloveniji po koncu druge svetovne vojne. O direktorju Moderne galerije, kasneje Mednarodnega grafičnega likovnega centra, vseskozi pa vodji ljubljanskega grafičnega bienala smo v najrazličnejših kontekstih prebrali že veliko.02 Še danes, dobrih deset let po njegovi smrti, pa, kot je to pogosto pri vplivnih osebah, ni čutiti konsenza glede njegovega prispevka – nekatere vidike njegovega dela kot nesporno pozitivne izpostavljajo(mo) vsi, glede nekaterih pa se pojavljajo določeni očitki. Večplastna, celovita predstavitev Kržišnikove kariere in osebnosti – ki bi zaobjela njegovo vlogo tako na slovenski, jugoslovanski kot mednarodni ravni in bi njegovo

It is difficult to write anything about the history of art in post-war Slovenia without mentioning Zoran Kržišnik (1920–2008). We have, indeed, read a great deal, and in various contexts, about this man who was the director first of the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana (Moderna galerija), then of the International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC), and, throughout his career, of the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts.02 As often occurs with influential figures, even now, more than a decade after his death, there is no clear consensus about his contribution: everyone points to certain aspects of his work as undeniably positive, while other aspects have been the object of some criticism. A comprehensive and multilayered discussion of Kržišnik’s career and personality – one that would include not only his role in Slovenia and Yugoslavia but also importance in the international art world, and would critically appraise his work as it relates to the development of the local art ideology, art market, and institutions for exhibiting and musealizing contemporary art, as well as broader cultural and political issues and other perspectives – this would be the task of a much larger biographical study, which we hope to see in the near future. The aim of the present text is more specific. Here I will concentrate on the early period of

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Zoran Kržišnik, »Če bi bili kulturniki športni« (intervju z Vesno Marinčić), Tedenska tribuna, 20. 1. 1971, str. 14. 02 Glej npr.: Petja Grafenauer, »Moderna galerija (1957–1986): Obdobje Zorana Kržišnika«, Maska, XXIV/123–124, poletje 2009, str. 160–176; Kržišnika v kontekstu institucionalizacije sodobne umetnosti po drugi svetovni vojni v mednarodnem kontekstu izpostavlja Beti Žerovc v uvodnem besedilu intervjuja z Zoranom Kržišnikom. Glej: »Zoran Kržišnik, intervju z Beti Žerovc«, Mnemozina: čas ljubljanskega grafičnega bienala (ur. Vesna Tržan), Ljubljana, MGLC, 2010, str. 34–38.

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Zoran Kržišnik, “Če bi bili kulturniki športni”, interview with Vesna Marinčić, Tedenska tribuna, 20 January 1971, p. 14. 02 See, for example, Petja Grafenauer, “Moderna galerija (1957–1986): Obdobje Zorana Kržišnika”, Maska, vol. 24, nos. 123–124, summer 2009, pp. 160–176. Meanwhile, Beti Žerovc, in the introduction to her interview with Kržišnik, sets him in the context of the international post-war institutionalization of art; see “Zoran Kržišnik, intervju z Beti Žerovc”, Mnemozina: čas ljubljanskega grafičnega bienala, ed. Vesna Tržan, MGLC, Ljubljana, 2010, pp. 34–38.

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aktivnost pretresla z vidika razvoja lokalne umetniške ideologije, umetniškega trga, institucij za razstavljanje in muzealizacijo sodobne umetnosti, širših kulturnopolitičnih in iz drugih zornih kotov – je lahko naloga obširnejše biografske študije, ki naj bi jo prinesla bližnja prihodnost. Namen tega besedila je bolj specifičen. Osredotočili se bomo na zgodnje obdobje Kržišnikovega delovanja, petdeseta in šestdeseta leta, pri čemer nas bo zanimalo predvsem njegovo mednarodno delovanje, usmerjeno v umeščanje slovenskih umetnikov v zahodni umetnostni prostor. Po kratkem uvodnem delu, v katerem bomo začrtali vzpostavljanje Kržišnikove pozicije na slovenskem in jugoslovanskem likovnem prizorišču, se bomo posvetili njegovemu vstopu v krog vodilnih mednarodnih strokovnjakov, kritikov, kustosov, galeristov. Na podlagi intervjujev in izjav bomo poskušali prikazati njegovo vizijo preboja slovenske umetnosti v tujino, ki je temeljila na pronicljivem vpogledu v mednarodni umetnostni sistem. Predstavili bomo konkretne razstave, tržno usmerjene projekte in druge dejavnosti iz petdesetih in šestdesetih let 20. stoletja, ki ponazarjajo Kržišnikovo sistematičnost pri realizaciji zastavljenih ciljev. —•— Zoran Kržišnik, rojen pred sto leti, se je po mladosti, preživeti v rojstni Žirovnici na Gorenjskem, odpravil v Ljubljano, kjer je obiskoval realko. Sprva bolj tehnično usmerjen mladenič, navdušen nad kemijo, je jeseni leta 1941 sledil svojemu dobremu prijatelju Marijanu Zadnikarju in vpisal študij

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» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

Kržišnik’s career, in the 1950s and 1960s, looking primarily at his international work, which was directed towards establishing Slovene artists in the Western art world. After a brief introduction, in which I sketch out the formation of Kržišnik’s position in the Slovene and Yugoslav art scene, I will describe how he became part of the circle of leading international art experts, critics, curators, and gallerists. On the basis of his interviews and other statements, I will try to show his vision for how Slovene art might penetrate the foreign art world – a vision that derived from his insightful understanding of the international art system. I will look at specific exhibitions, commercially oriented projects, and other activities from the 1950s and 1960s which illustrate Kržišnik’s systematic approach to realizing the goals he set for himself. —•— Born a century ago, Zoran Kržišnik, after spending his early years in his native Žirovnica, in the Gorenjska region, went to Ljubljana to attend the polytechnic secondary school (the Realka). In the autumn of 1941, the young man, although initially focused more on technical subjects (he was particularly interested in chemistry), followed his good friend Marijan Zadnikar to university and enrolled in art history.03 He attended classes conducted by France Stelè, Franc Mesesnel, and Vojeslav Molè, but his studies were soon interrupted by his arrest and internment by the Italian Fascist occupying forces. Life revived after liberation, for him as well. As he himself said, he “seized with both hands” any opportunity he was offered.04 Even in school, Kržišnik had loved to sing; he was particularly fond of the French and Italian songs that were then very popular. At the invitation of Bojan Adamič, who right after the war was trying to introduce jazz and popular music to Slovenia, Kržišnik launched his singing career on Radio

03 Marijan Zadnikar, Z mojih poti: spomini slovenskega umetnostnega zgodovinarja in konservatorja, DZS, Ljubljana, 1991. 04 Peter Breščak, “Potret tedna. Zoran Kržišnik”, Delo, Sobotna priloga, 2 June 1973, p. 17.


umetnostne zgodovine.03 Poslušal je predavanja, ki so jih vodili France Stelè, Franc Mesesnel in Vojeslav Molè, a je študij moral kmalu prekiniti, saj so ga italijanske okupacijske oblasti kmalu aretirale in internirale. Po osvoboditvi se je tudi zanj življenje začelo na novo, kot pravi sam, je ponujene priložnosti »zgrabil z obema rokama«.04 Še kot gimnazijec je zelo rad pel, predvsem so mu bile blizu priljubljene francoske in italijanske popevke. Na povabilo Bojana Adamiča, ki si je v Sloveniji neposredno po vojni prizadeval vpeljati jazz in zabavno glasbo, je začel pevsko kariero na ljubljanskem radiu. Kljub uspešnim začetkom se je vendarle odločil za nadaljevanje kariere na likovnem področju, pel pa je tudi kasneje, a ne več pod svojim pravim imenom. Leta 1947 je dobil službo v novoustanovljeni Moderni galeriji, kmalu pa je prevzel njeno vodenje. V še nedokončani galerijski stavbi se je s sodelavci lotil organizacije prvih razstav domače in tuje umetnosti, izdajanja prvih katalogov, postopoma pa se je kot pisec začel pojavljati tudi v strokovnem in dnevnem časopisju.

Ljubljana. Despite some initial success, he nevertheless decided to continue his career in art. He did, however, sing later, although no longer under his own name. Kržišnik was hired at the newly founded Moderna galerija in 1947, and soon afterward became its director. In the still-unfinished building, he and his colleagues set about preparing the museum’s first exhibitions of Slovene, Yugoslav, and foreign art, and publishing its first catalogues; gradually, he also began writing for art magazines and daily newspapers.

03 Marijan Zadnikar, Z mojih poti: spomini slovenskega umetnostnega zgodovinarja in konservatorja, Ljubljana, DZS, 1991. 04 Peter Breščak, »Potret tedna. Zoran Kržišnik«, Delo, Sobotna priloga, 2. 6. 1973, str. 17.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

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[1] Zoran Kržišnik na razstavi sodobne slovenske umetnosti (La Mostra d‘arte Slovena Contemporanea) v Pistoii v Toskani (Museo Civico) leta 1958. Foto: Modernissima. Arhiv MGLC.

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[1] Zoran Kržišnik at an exhibition of

Slovene contemporary art (La Mostra d’arte slovena contemporanea) at the Museo Civico in Pistoia, Tuscany, in 1958. Photograph: Modernissima. Archive of MGLC.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


Zgodnja petdeseta leta in prvi koraki v tujino

V Jugoslaviji je bilo v začetku petdesetih let – po zahtevnih letih pred razhodom s Sovjetsko zvezo leta 1948 in neposredno po njem – začutiti močno željo po stiku z zahodnim kulturnim prostorom. Tako v politiki kot v kulturi sta sicer še vedno obstajali ostra opozicija in nezaupljivost do zahoda in njegove umetnosti. Konkretno se je to pokazalo v še zmeraj oteženem prehajanju meja pa tudi v previdnostnih omejitvah in političnem nadzoru nad komunikacijo s tujino.05 Kljub temu je sčasoma tudi vladajoča politika, ki je na mednarodnem parketu ustvarjala idejo o Jugoslaviji kot demokratični, odprti, gostoljubni družbi, začela popuščati. Pritok vplivov iz tujine je v petdesetih letih postajal

05 Pristojnosti nacionalnih in regionalnih institucij, tudi Moderne galerije v Ljubljani, za mednarodno povezovanje so bile v tem obdobju omejene. Komunikacijo s tujino je prvenstveno organizirala Komisija za kulturne zveze z inozemstvom s sedežem v Beogradu. Glej npr.: Miško Šuvaković, »Kulturalna politika od socijalističkog realizma do socijalističkog modernizma«, in Istorija umetnosti u Srbiji – XX vek. Drugi tom – Realizmi i modernizmi oko hladnog rata (ur. Miško Šuvaković), Beograd, Orion Art, 2012, str. 368.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

The Early 1950s and Kržišnik’s First Efforts Abroad At the start of the 1950s, after the difficult years before and immediately after the split with the Soviet Union, there was a palpable desire in Yugoslavia for contact with the Western cultural scene. There remained, however, in both the political and cultural realms, strong opposition and mistrust towards the West and its art. In concrete terms, this could be seen in the difficulties that still existed in crossing the border, as well as the protective limitations and political control over communications with other countries.05 Nevertheless, the governing political leadership, who on the international stage had been promoting the idea of Yugoslavia as a democratic, open, and hospitable society, gradually began to ease the pressure. The influx of ideas from abroad became stronger and stronger in the 1950s; the opening of the borders was an invitation for foreigners to visit, while, in the opposite direction, Yugoslavs were offered ever more opportunities to travel and study abroad and become involved in the international environment culturally, artistically, and in other ways, too. As in film-making, theatre, music, and other cultural spheres, in art, too, there

05 In this period, national and regional institutions, including the Moderna galerija in Ljubljana, had only limited authority when it came to international connections. Communication with contacts abroad was organized first and foremost by the federal Commission for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, based in Belgrade. See, among others, Miško Šuvaković, “Kulturalna politika od socijalističkog realizma do socijalističkog modernizma”, in Istorija umetnosti u Srbiji – XX vek, vol. 2: Realizmi i modernizmi oko hladnog rata, ed. Miško Šuvaković, Orion Art, Beograd, 2012, p. 368.

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vedno močnejši, odpiranje meja je privabljalo tuje goste, v obratni smeri pa so tudi jugoslovanski državljani vedno pogosteje dobivali priložnost potovati, študirati ter se kulturno, umetniško in drugače vključevati v mednarodno okolje. Kot na filmskem, gledališkem, glasbenem in drugih področjih kulturnega življenja je tudi na likovni sceni obstajala želja po premostitvi praznine, ki sta jo med jugoslovanskim in zahodnim prostorom pustili vojna in povojna izolacija. Kljub materialnim oviram, le delno naklonjenemu javnemu mnenju in drugim preprekam so bili Kržišnik in njegovi ambiciozni sodelavci, zbrani v novoustanovljeni Moderni galeriji in okoli nje, odločeni izkoristiti vse možnosti za stik in vključevanje v tuje trende.06 Pomembne se bile prve priložnosti za potovanja v Pariz, kjer sta umetnike in druge likovne delavce sprejemala in usmerjala tam živeča Veno Pilon07 in Zoran Mušič. Še bližji in zato bolj dostopen pa je bil Trst, kjer je delovala močna skupina slovenskih umetnikov z Lojzetom Spacalom na čelu. Slednji je v Trstu ob koncu štiridesetih in začetku petdesetih let sodeloval pri pripravljanju razstav v Galeriji Škorpijon (Scorpione), v kateri je Moderna galerija leta 1949 z razstavo Sodobna slovenska grafika prvič

06 Med umetniki so v tem procesu pomembni Božidar Jakac, Riko Debenjak, Miha Maleš in drugi, poleg tega pa umetnostna zgodovinarja Izidor Cankar in France Stelè ter Karel Dobida, ravnatelj Narodne galerije. 07 Pilon je bil med letoma 1955 in 1963 zastopnik grafične založbe L'Oeuvre Gravée iz Züricha, ki jo je vodil njegov prijatelj Nesto Jacometti. »Štiri desetletja v Parizu (1928–1968)«, Veno Pilon – življenje, Pilonova galerija, zadnjič dostopano 27. 11. 2020, https://venopilon.com/sl/%C5%A1tiridesetletja-v-parizu-1928-%E2%80%93-1968.

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» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

was a desire to bridge the gulf between Yugoslavia and the West that had been created by the war and the post-war isolation. Kržišnik and his ambitious colleagues at and associated with the Moderna galerija were determined to use every available possibility – despite financial limitations, only partial support from the public, and other obstacles – to pursue connections and involvement with foreign trends.06 In this regard, the first opportunities to travel to Paris were important: artists and other art professionals were welcomed and offered guidance by the Paris-based Slovene painters Veno Pilon07 and Zoran Mušič. But Trieste was closer and thus more accessible; what is more, it was home to a large group of Slovene artists, most notably, Lojze Spacal. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Spacal worked as an organiser of exhibitions in Galleria Scorpione in Trieste, which, in 1949, had hosted an exhibition from the Moderna galerija, Contemporary Slovene Prints – the museum’s first touring exhibition outside the “political borders” of Yugoslavia.08 In this early period, for Kržišnik personally, too, Italy proved to be an important point of entry to the Western art world. At the beginning of the 1950s, some of his most important trips abroad were to the Venice Biennale, where, in 1950, Yugoslavia participated for the first time since the war. On that occasion,

06 Important artists in this process include Božidar Jakac, Riko Debenjak, Miha Maleš, and others, as well as the art historians Izidor Cankar and France Stelè, and Karel Dobida, the director of the National Gallery of Slovenia. 07 From 1955 to 1963, Pilon was the representative of the Zurich-based print publisher L’Oeuvre Gravée, which was managed by his friend Nesto Jacometti. See “Štiri desetletja v Parizu (1928–1968)”, on the website of the Pilon Gallery (in Ajdovščina), https:// venopilon.com/sl/%C5%A1tiri-desetletjav-parizu-1928-%E2%80%93-1968. 08 Zoran Kržišnik, “Prodor slovenske likovne umetnosti v mednarodni prostor” (doctoral dissertation, University of Ljubljana, 1994), unpaginated. For more on Galleria Scorpione see: Ana Obid, “Razstavljanje tržaških slovenskih slikarjev v Galeriji Škorpijon”, bachelor thesis, University of Ljubljana, 2019. https://repozitorij. uni-lj.si/Dokument.php?id=122559&lang=slv.


gostovala zunaj »političnih meja« Jugoslavije.08 Italijanski prostor se je tudi za Kržišnika osebno v zgodnjem obdobju izkazal za pomembno vstopno točko v tujino. Med njegova pomembnejša potovanja v začetku petdesetih let spadajo obiski Benetk oziroma beneškega bienala, na katerem je Jugoslavija prvič po vojni sodelovala leta 1950. Za komisarja jugoslovanskega paviljona je bil izbran Petar Šegedin, kot ambiciozni predstavnik ljubljanske likovne skupnosti pa je bil za pomočnika imenovan Kržišnik.09 Ta in podobne priložnosti so ponujale možnosti za vzpostavljanje stikov,10 za širjenje Kržišnikove socialne mreže pa je bilo zelo pomembno tudi članstvo v jugoslovanskih in mednarodnih institucijah. Tako je bil med prvimi jugoslovanskimi likovnimi funkcionarji imenovan za rednega člana mednarodnega združenja likovnih kritikov – AICA leta 1954, medtem ko je bilo za utrditev njegove pozicije v domačih kulturnopolitičnih krogih ključno članstvo v zveznem Odboru

08 Zoran Kržišnik, Prodor slovenske likovne umetnosti v mednarodni prostor (doktorska disertacija, Univerza v Ljubljani, 1994), sine pag. O Galeriji Škorpijon širše npr. v: Ana Obid, Razstavljanje tržaških slovenskih slikarjev v Galeriji Škorpijon, diplomska naloga, Univerza v Ljubljani, 2019. https://repozitorij. uni-lj.si/Dokument.php?id=122559&lang=slv. 09 Kržišnik je sicer v zapisih in intervjujih večkrat izjavil, da je kot pomočnik komisarja jugoslovanskega paviljona Petra Šegedina sodeloval na beneškem bienalu leta 1952. Verjetno gre za pomoto, saj je bil Šegedin komisar dve leti prej, na 25. bienalu leta 1950. 10 V Benetkah je v začetku petdesetih let med drugim spoznal v Jugoslaviji še politično nezaželenega Zorana Mušiča, s katerim je razvil prijateljstvo, ki se je izkazalo za ključno podporo Kržišnikovim mednarodnim projektom.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

Petar Šegedin was selected as the commissioner of the Yugoslav Pavilion, and Kržišnik, an ambitious representative of the Ljubljana art community, was named as his assistant.09 While this and similar opportunities afforded chances to establish contacts in the West,10 Kržišnik’s membership in Yugoslav and international institutions was also instrumental in broadening his social network. In 1954, he became one of the first Yugoslav art officials to be named as a regular member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), while his membership on the Committee for Art Exhibitions at the federal Commission for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, was critical in consolidating his position in Yugoslav cultural-political circles.11 Kržišnik’s first impressions from his foreign travels and his personal ambition, as well as the trust and cooperation between Slovene artists, art historians, and Slovenes living abroad, provided the basis on which, in the mid-1950s, the idea emerged to organize an international print exhibition in Ljubljana – the Biennial of Graphic Arts. In this project, which in the following decades would crucially shape the opportunities that opened

09 On several occasions, in his writings and interviews, Kržišnik said he had been Šegedin’s assistant at the Venice Biennale in 1952. This is most likely a mistake, as Šegedin served as the commissioner of the Yugoslav Pavilion two years earlier, in 1950, at the 25th Biennale. 10 For example, in Venice at the beginning of the 1950s, Kržišnik met, among others, the artist Zoran Mušič, who at the time was still a politically undesirable figure in Yugoslavia. They developed a friendship, which in the future provided crucial support to Kržišnik’s international projects. 11 This committee – its other members were Oto Bihalji Merin (an art critic from Belgrade), Aleksa Čelebonović (an artist and art critic from Belgrade), Lazar Ličenoski (an artist from Skopje), Marijan Matković (a writer from Zagreb), Miodrag B. Protić (an artist and art critic from Belgrade), Risto Stijović (an artist from Belgrade), and Boris Vižentin (the director of the Gallery of Fine Art in Rijeka) – became one of the key players in shaping the international image of Yugoslav art. Among other things, it was responsible for choosing the artists and commissioners for the Yugoslav sections in foreign biennials. See Ana Bogdanović, “Aleksa Čelebonović i jugoslavenski nastupi na Venecijanskom bijenalu”, Peristil, vol. 60, 2017, pp. 119–120.

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za likovne razstave pri Komisiji za kulturne zveze z inozemstvom.11 Na podlagi prvih Kržišnikovih vtisov iz tujine, njegovih osebnih ambicij in na osnovi zaupanja in sodelovanja med slovenskimi umetniki, umetnostnimi zgodovinarji in v tujini živečimi rojaki se je sredi petdesetih let razvila ideja o organizaciji mednarodne razstave grafike v Ljubljani – grafičnega bienala. Zoran Kržišnik je pri tem projektu, ki je v nadaljnjih desetletjih ključno zaznamoval možnosti, ki so se jugoslovanskemu likovnemu prostoru odpirale v tujini, prevzel levji delež organizacijskih, promocijskih in drugih nalog. Spretno je krmaril med jugoslovansko politično javnostjo in pridobival politično in finančno podporo projektu, hkrati pa mu je, kljub neizkušenosti, tudi na mednarodnem parketu uspelo vzbuditi dovolj pozornosti, da je bienalu zagotovil privlačnost in vidnost.12

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Odbor, katerega člani so bili še Oto Bihalji Merin (likovni kritik iz Beograda), Aleksa Čelebonović (umetnik in likovni kritik iz Beograda), Lazar Ličenoski (umetnik iz Skopja), Marijan Matković (književnik iz Zagreba), Miodrag B. Protić (umetnik in likovni kritik iz Beograda), Risto Stijović (umetnik iz Beograda) in Boris Vižentin (direktor Galerije likovne umetnosti na Reki), je postal eden ključnih deležnikov pri oblikovanju podobe jugoslovanske umetnosti v tujini. Med drugim je bil odgovoren za izbor umetnikov in komisarjev jugoslovanskih sekcij na tujih bienalih. Glej: Ana Bogdanović, »Aleksa Čelebonović i jugoslavenski nastupi na Venecijanskom bijenalu«, Peristil, let. 60, 2017, str. 119–120. Mladi galerist je, ob posredovanju nepogrešljivih Pilona in Mušiča, v Parizu našel pot do ateljejev, umetnikov in agentov vodilnih predstavnikov t. i. pariške šole, jim predstavljal idejo o razstavi in na koncu v Ljubljano osebno pripeljal tudi njihove grafike.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

for Yugoslav art in the West, Kržišnik assumed the lion’s share of the organizing and promotional work, as well as other responsibilities. He adroitly navigated Yugoslavia’s political waters, winning both political and financial support for the project, while at the same time, despite his lack of experience, he managed to create enough international interest to ensure that the biennial would be an attractive and well-publicized event.12

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In Paris, the young gallerist, with the indispensable help of Pilon and Mušič, found his way to studios, artists, and the agents of the leading representatives of the École de Paris; he presented his idea for the exhibition to them and, in the end, personally brought their prints back to Ljubljana.


[2] Kržišnik pred Moderno

galerijo v pogovoru z Aleksandrom Rankovićem, za njima na levi Edvard Kardelj. Posneto ob tretjem grafičnem bienalu leta 1959. Foto: Arhiv MGLC.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

[2] Kržišnik speaking with Aleksandar Ranković in front of the Moderna galerija in Ljubljana; Edvard Kardelj is behind them on the left. Taken at the 3rd Biennial of Graphic Arts, 1959. Photograph: Archive of MGLC.

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Kržišnikove menedžerske strategije

Uspeh grafičnega bienala, ki je s podporo širše javnosti že pred iztekom petdesetih let postal projekt nacionalnega pomena, je Kržišniku zagotovil mesto med najpomembnejšimi jugoslovanskimi likovnimi akterji. Pri Komisiji je Kržišnik pridobil stalno mesto in se je začel vedno pogosteje pojavljati kot komisar jugoslovanskih paviljonov na mednarodnih bienalih.13 Zaradi poznanstva s tujimi organizatorji razstav in galeristi je redno prejemal tudi vabila v mednarodne žirije in organizacijske odbore tujih bienalov.14 Glede na izpostavljenost tako na domačem kot tujem terenu je razumljivo, da se je ob koncu petdesetih let začel pogosteje pojavljati tudi v medijih. Njegovi intervjuji in izjave, ki jih bomo v nadaljevanju večkrat navajali, po eni strani pričajo o prvih očitkih, ki so v začetku šestdesetih let spremljali

Kržišnik’s Management Strategies The success of the Biennial of Graphic Arts, which by the end of the decade, through the support of the general public, became an event of national significance, secured Kržišnik a place among Yugoslavia’s most influential art-world figures. He was given a permanent seat on the Cultural Relations Commission and was increasingly chosen as the commissioner of Yugoslavia’s pavilions at international biennials.13 And as a result of his acquaintance with foreign exhibition organizers and gallerists, he started receiving regular invitations to serve on international juries and organization committees of foreign biennials.14 Given his local and international exposure, it is hardly surprising that, from the late 1950s on, Kržišnik appeared more and more frequently in the media. His interviews and statements, which I cite a number of times below, testify on the one hand to the initial criticism that accompanied his growing influence in

13 13 14

12

Na bienalu v São Paulu v letih 1963 in 1965 ter trikrat v Benetkah (1960, 1966, 1970). V Benetkah je bil član žirije leta 1962, istega leta na grafičnem bienalu v Tokiu.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

14

Twice at the São Paulo Art Biennial (in 1963 and 1965) and three times at the Venice Biennale (1960, 1966, and 1970). In Venice, he was a member of the jury in 1962, as well as serving that same year on the jury of the print biennial in Tokyo.


[3] Vhod v jugoslovanski

[3] The entrance to the Yugoslav

[4] Vhod v jugoslovanski

[4] The entrance to the

paviljon na 25. beneškem bienalu leta 1950, na katerem je kot pomočnik komisarja Petra Šegedina sodeloval Zoran Kržišnik. Foto: Archivio Storico della Biennale di Venezia, ASAC. paviljon, v ozadju skulptura Vojina Bakića. Foto: Arhiv MGLC.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

Pavilion at the 25th Venice Biennale in 1950, at which Zoran Kržišnik was the assistant to the Yugoslav commissioner, Petar Šegedin. Photograph courtesy Archivio Storico della Biennale di Venezia, ASAC. Yugoslav Pavilion; the sculpture in the background is by Vojin Bakić. Photograph: Archive of MGLC.

13


[5] Bienale São Paulo je leta

1957, ob svoji četrti izdaji, dobil nove razstavne prostore v za ta namen zgrajenem paviljonu Ciccilla Matarazza v parku Ibirapuera. Stavbo so postavili po načrtih brazilskega arhitekta Oscarja Niemeyerja. Na fotografiji gostujoča razstava jugoslovanskih fresk v okviru VI. bienala São Paulo. Foto: Fundação Bienal de São Paulo/ Arquivo Histórico Wanda Svevo.

14

[5] With its fourth edition in 1957,

the São Paulo Biennial received new exhibition spaces in the specially built Ciccillo Matarazza Pavilion in Ibirapuera Park. The building was constructed to plans by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The photograph shows an exhibition of Yugoslav frescos, which was part of the 6th São Paulo Biennial. Photograph courtesy Fundação Bienal de São Paulo/ Arquivo Histórico Wanda Svevo.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


rast njegovega vpliva,15 po drugi pa dodatno pojasnjujejo njegove dotedanje korake in napovedujejo njegove prihodnje. Kržišnikov občutek glede že doseženega je bil ob koncu petdesetih let dober. Izpostavil je velik potencial in pomen vseh uspehov, med drugim odmevnost jugoslovanskega paviljona na bruseljski svetovni razstavi (Expo 58) in 29. beneškem bienalu leta 1958.16

the early 1960s,15 and, on the other, further elucidate the efforts he had made up that point and foreshadow his later course of action. By the late 1950s, Kržišnik had a good feeling about what had been achieved. He underscored the great potential and significance of the successes so far, including the acclaim received by the Yugoslav pavilions at the Brussels World Fair (Expo 58) and the 29th Venice Biennale, which both occurred in 1958.16  he initial actions, which happened T more by chance, have in recent years acquired more realistic and more appropriate forms. They have brought us to the point where we are no longer fighting simply for individual recognition and success, but we also seek the highest recognition for our artists and an equal footing with those who, in the wider world, represent the concept of artistic activity.17

 Začetne akcije, ki so bile bolj » slučajne, so v zadnjih letih dobile realnejše in primernejše oblike in so nas privedle do stopnje, ko se ne borimo več samo za posamična priznanja in uspehe, temveč iščemo za naše umetnike tudi najvišja priznanja in enakopravno vrednost s tistimi, ki v širšem svetu pomenijo pojem umetniške dejavnosti.«17

15

15

16

17

Kržišnik se je moral soočiti z očitki o uzurpaciji moči, paktiranju z določenimi umetniki in posledičnim odrivanjem drugih. Termin menedžerstvo je v tem kontekstu privzel negativno konotacijo. Kržišnik je očitke zavrnil: bodisi je svojo »obrambo« utemeljil na kriteriju kakovosti umetnikov, s čimer je poskušal zavrniti namigovanja o svoji subjektivnosti, bodisi je svoj vpliv poskušal prikazati izrazito manjšega, kot so mu ga pripisovali. »Za menedžerstvo pri nas,« pravi, »ni družbenih, ni moralnih in tudi ne materialnih pogojev. V galerijah imamo organe družbenega upravljanja in samoupravljanja, naše materialno poslovanje kontrolira Služba družbenega knjigovodstva. V odboru za likovne umetnosti Komisije za kulturne vezi s tujino pa je več likovnih umetnikov kot direktorjev galerij.« (»Tri pitanja Zoranu Kržišniku«, Vjesnik, 12. 4. 1964) Paviljon, ki ga je kot komisar pripravil Aleksa Čelebonović, spada med pomembnejše v tem obdobju in je naletel na dober odziv vrhunskih zahodnih kritikov. Bogdanović, »Aleksa Čelebonović i jugoslavenski nastupi na Venecijanskom bijenalu«, str. 124. Zoran Kržišnik, »Naša likovna umetnost u svetu. Perspektive i mogućnosti za plasman dela jugoslovenskih slikara i vajara«, NIN, št. 419, 11. 1. 1959, str. 10.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

16

17

Kržišnik faced criticism that he was usurping power, was too closely allied with certain artists and, consequently, was displacing other artists. In this context the term manager assumed negative connotations. Kržišnik rejected such criticism, either by basing his “defence” on the quality of the given artists and thus denying any suggestion of subjectivity, or by attempting to portray his influence as significantly less than what he was being ascribed. “In our country,” he said, “there are no social, moral, or even material conditions for being a manager. In our galleries we have organs of social management and selfmanagement, while our financial transactions are controlled by the Social Accounting Service. And on the fine arts committee of the Commission for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries there are more artists than gallery directors.” (“Tri pitanja Zoranu Kržišniku”, Vjesnik, 12 April 1964) The pavilion organized by Aleksa Čelebonović is considered one of the most important in this period and was well received by some of the most esteemed Western art critics. See Bogdanović, “Aleksa Čelebonović i jugoslavenski nastupi na Venecijanskom bijenalu”, p. 124. Zoran Kržišnik, “Naša likovna umetnost u svetu: Perspektive i mogućnosti za plasman dela jugoslovenskih slikara i vajara”, NIN, no. 419, 11 January 1959, p. 10.

15


Slovenski in jugoslovanski umetniki so že dosegli odmevne rezultate18 in izrisale so se osebnosti, ki kažejo nadaljnji potencial. Vendar pa Kržišnik dvomi, da imajo v tujini priznani umetniki doma dovolj trdno in enotno podporo. Sprašuje se,  ali smo pravilno razumeli to » priznanje in znak, da so vrata dovolj na široko odprta in da gredo skoznje lahko vsi tisti, ki si to zaslužijo. […] Smo spoznali in razmislili o tem, da ima tudi Jugoslavija svoje Picasse [...] in da jih je ozki krog svetovnih mojstrov pripravljen sprejeti v svoje vrste, če dobijo z naše strani dovolj zaslužene podpore?«19 Kržišnik izreče tudi marsikateri dvom o ustreznosti trenutnih praks pri umeščanju jugoslovanske umetnosti v tujini. Tako na primer zagovarja strožje kriterije pri izbiri umetnikov. »[P]rav [je], da gredo na najuglednejša mesta v svetu tiste stvaritve, ki so v zadnjih letih že postale sinonim za kvaliteto. V svetu namreč ne moremo nastopati z deli, ki so še v razvoju ali ki rešujejo manjše oziroma celo osebne probleme.«20 Merila za izbore ne smejo biti nobene druge narave kot izključno umetniške, zato Kržišnik nasprotuje kvotam oziroma nacionalnim in drugim ključem, po

Slovene and other Yugoslav artists had already achieved noteworthy results,18 and others who showed future potential were making a name for themselves. Nevertheless, Kržišnik doubted that artists who had won recognition abroad were receiving sufficiently strong and unified support at home. He wondered if we have properly understood this recognition, and the signal that the doors are now open wide enough and that all deserving artists may pass through them. . . . Have we realized and reflected on the fact that Yugoslavia, too, has her Picassos . . . and that the narrow circle of the world’s great artists are ready to welcome them into their ranks, provided that, from our side, they receive enough of the support they deserve?19 Kržišnik also expresses many doubts about the suitability of the then-current practices for presenting Yugoslav art in other countries. For instance, he advocates stricter criteria in the selection of artists: “It’s right that artworks which in recent years have become a synonym for quality should go to the world’s most prestigious places. After all, we cannot appear on the world stage with works that are still in development or that address smaller, or even personal, issues.”20 The standards for selecting works must be solely of an artistic nature, and that alone; consequently, Kržišnik was opposed to quotas such as those based on nationality or the other “keys” by which Yugoslav artists were sent abroad. Similarly, the politeness principle – “he went now; next time someone else should go” – would not

18 18

Med zgodnjimi uspehi izpostavimo nagrado Franceta Miheliča na beneškem bienalu leta 1954, nagradi Rika Debenjaka (1957) in Vladimirja Makuca (1959) na bienalu v Aleksandriji ter Debenjakovo priznanje na bienalu v São Paulu leta 1959. O tem med drugim v: Kržišnik, Prodor slovenske likovne umetnosti v mednarodni prostor, sine pag. 19 Kržišnik, »Naša likovna umetnost u svetu«, str. 10. 20 Zoran Kržišnik, »Ne znamo igrati z velikim ›adutom‹. Pogovor z ravnateljem ljubljanske moderne galerije«, Večer, 28. 5. 1966, str. 9, 16.

16

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

Among such early achievements, we should note in particular France Mihelič’s award at the Venice Biennale in 1954, the prizes received by Riko Debenjak (in 1957) and Vladimir Makuc (in 1959) at the Alexandria Art Biennial in Egypt, and Debenjak’s recognition at the São Paulo Biennial in 1959. See, among other sources, Kržišnik, “Prodor slovenske likovne umetnosti v mednarodni prostor”, unpaginated. 19 Kržišnik, “Naša likovna umetnost u svetu”, p. 10. 20 Zoran Kržišnik, “Ne znamo igrati z velikim ‘adutom’: Pogovor z ravnateljem ljubljanske moderne galerije”, Večer, 28 May 1966, pp. 9, 16.


[6] Naslovnica kataloga

jugoslovanskega paviljona na Expu 58 v Bruslju.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.�

[6] Cover of the catalogue for the Yugoslav Pavilion at Expo 58 in Brussels.

17


katerih se umetnike pošilja v tujino. Vljudnostni princip »tokrat je šel ta, pa naj gre naslednjič drugi«21 prav tako ne bo prinesel rezultatov. Za izbore je treba določiti manj umetnikov, in sicer tako po kriteriju kakovosti kot tudi glede na vizijo o tem, kaj želimo tujini sporočiti.22 Izpostaviti velja, da že v Kržišnikovih zgodnejših izjavah zasledimo zelo jasno artikulirane misli o novih smernicah in ustroju na mednarodnem likovnem prizorišču, o galerijskem delu in ljudeh, ki v njih delujejo. Ob primerjavi teh vtisov iz tujine z uveljavljenim principom umeščanja jugoslovanskih umetnikov se mu pokažejo določene do tedaj neizkoriščene možnosti. Komisija za kulturne zveze s tujino je pri svojih projektih računala predvsem na velike, pregledne razstave jugoslovanske umetnosti, ki jih je, pogosto prek diplomatskih in drugih posredništev, pripravljala v velikih muzejih in galerijah, predvsem nacionalnih. Po Kržišnikovem mnenju tovrsten centralizirani in formalni pristop lahko pomeni izhodišče, ne more pa doseči najvišjih ciljev. Za uspeh jugoslovanskih umetnikov je potrebno neposredno povezovanje institucij, primarnih akterjev na umetnostnem polju, torej muzejev, galerij, raznih združenj, ki so v komunikaciji lahko bolj okretne in prodorne kot večje državne institucije. Poleg tega Kržišnik poudarja, da v sodobnem umetnostnem sistemu obstaja institucionalna lestvica, po kateri se morajo umetniki postopoma

21

Zoran Kržišnik, »Nisam za uravnilovko u umetnosti« (intervju s Tomislavom Butoracom), Vjesnik, 14. 5. 1967. 22 Ibid.

18

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

bring results.21 When making selections, it was essential to choose a smaller number of artists, and to do so on the basis of quality and the vision of what we wished to communicate to the world.22 It is worth noting that even in Kržišnik’s earlier statements we can track his clearly articulated thoughts about new art trends and the makeup of the international art scene, about the role of galleries and the people who work in them. When he compares his impressions from foreign practices with the established principle for presenting Yugoslav artists abroad, he finds a number of unexploited opportunities. In the projects developed by the Commission for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, hopes were placed primarily on large survey exhibitions of Yugoslav art, which were prepared, through diplomatic and other intermediaries, at large, usually national, museums and galleries. In Kržišnik’s opinion, this sort of centralized, formal approach, which, while it may mean a starting point, cannot achieve the highest goals. For Yugoslav artists to be successful, there must be direct connections between institutions, the primary actors in the art world – in other words, museums, galleries, and various associations – which can be nimbler and more astute in their communications than the large government institutions. In addition, Kržišnik stresses that in the modern art system there exists an institutional “ladder” which artists must climb step by step in order to achieve international recognition and the success that derives from it; the current Yugoslav strategy, however, relied on a model for making connections that did not sufficiently take account of this hierarchy. It was important to start with small “pocket” galleries, which presented exhibitions of small groups and individual artists; it was here that the process began of ranking and classifying artists in terms of quality. This was where artists developed (or did

21

Zoran Kržišnik, “Nisam za uravnilovko u umetnosti”, interview with Tomislav Butorac, Vjesnik, 14 May 1967. 22 Ibid.


[7] Pogled v dvorano v

[7] View of a room in the Yugoslav

V ospredju platna Eda Murtića in skulpture takrat obetavnega mladega slovenskega kiparja Draga Tršarja, med drugim njegovi Manifestanti. Tršarjev velik talent je Kržišnik prepoznal in umetnika podprl že leta 1955, ko ga je izbral za nastop na bienalu v Aleksandriji. Kot piše Kržišnik, je pri tem naletel na upor dela javnosti, a so kritike potihnile, potem ko je Tršar na tem bienalu prejel nagrado.

In the foreground are paintings by Edo Murtić and sculptures by the then promising young artist Drago Tršar, including his work Manifestanti (Protesters). Kržišnik recognized the Tršar’s great talent and promoted his work as early as 1955, when he chose Tršar for the Yugoslav presentation at the biennial in Alexandria, Egypt. As Kržišnik writes, he encountered a certain amount of public opposition to this choice, but the critics were silenced when Tršar won the biennial’s grand prize for sculpture.

jugoslovanskem paviljonu na 29. beneškem bienalu leta 1958 (komisar: Aleksa Čelebonović). Foto: Archivio Storico della Biennale di Venezia, ASAC.

[8] Pogled v jugoslovanski

paviljon na 31. beneškem bienalu, 1962 (komisar: Boris Vižintin, pomočnica komisarja: Katarina Ambrozić). Foto: Archivio Storico della Biennale di Venezia, ASAC. V prostoru dela srbske kiparke Olge Jančić in platna Janeza Bernika.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

Pavilion at the 29th Venice Biennale in 1958 (commissioner: Aleksa Čelebonović). Photograph courtesy Archivio Storico della Biennale di Venezia, ASAC.

[8] View of the Yugoslav Pavilion

exhibition at the 31st Venice Biennale in 1962 (commissioner: Boris Vižintin; assistant: Katarina Ambrožić). Photograph courtesy Archivio Storico della Biennale di Venezia, ASAC. Shown here are works by the Serbian sculptor Olga Jančić and paintings by Janez Bernik.

19


vzpenjati, da dosežejo mednarodno priznanost in iz tega izhajajoče uspehe. Te hierarhije pa model povezovanja, na katerem temelji trenutna jugoslovanska strategija, ne upošteva dovolj. Začeti je treba pri majhnih, žepnih galerijah, v katerih se na razstavah manjših skupin umetnikov ali posameznikov sproži postopek rangiranja in klasificiranja umetnikov po kakovosti. Tu se vzpostavlja (ali ne) tesno sodelovanje med umetnikom in njegovim »agentom« oziroma menedžerjem. Na podlagi uspešnih začetkov v galerijo »prihajajo ponudbe za še nove razstave, odkupi, štipendije, naročila – stvari, ki so nadvse pomembne za nadaljnje neovirano umetniško snovanje«.23 Šele v nadaljevanju se v postopek vključijo tradicionalni muzeji, prisotnost umetnika v njihovih programih in zbirkah pa je končna potrditev njegove kakovosti.

not develop) a close collaboration with their “agent” or “manager”. On the basis of the artist’s initial success in a gallery, “offers start arriving for yet other exhibitions, purchases, stipends, commissions – things that are extremely important for the artist’s subsequent unimpeded progress”.23 Only later did the process include the traditional museums; inclusion in their programmes and collections was the ultimate confirmation of the artist’s quality.

23

23

20

»Naša umetnost v tujini. Prodor v svet«, Tedenska tribuna, 11. 7. 1961, str. 7.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

“Naša umetnost v tujini. Prodor v svet”, Tedenska tribuna, 11 July 1961, p. 7.


[9] Jugoslovanski paviljon,

V. bienale São Paulo, 1959 (komisar: Aleksa Čelebonović). Na levem delu predelne stene Meduza Staneta Kregarja iz leta 1958. Foto: Fundação Bienal de São Paulo/Arquivo Histórico Wanda Svevo.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

[9] Yugoslav Pavilion, 5th São

Paulo Biennial, 1959 (commissioner: Aleksa Čelebonović). On the left half of the dividing wall we see the painting Meduza (Medusa) by Stane Kregar (1958). Photograph courtesy Fundação Bienal de São Paulo/ Arquivo Histórico Wanda Svevo.

21


Mednarodno mreženje in pomen Male galerije (ust. 1959)

V želji na ljubljansko razstavo pripeljati vodilne tuje umetnike je Kržišnik vse od začetka vzpostavljal stike s pomembnimi grafičnimi založbami, ateljeji, dražbenimi hišami in galerijami. Razvilo se je trajno sodelovanje, od katerega so imeli koristi tako tuji partnerji, ki so na bienale umestili svoje »varovance«, kot organizator. Da pa bi bilo sodelovanje možno obrniti tudi v korist slovenskim umetnikom, je bilo tujim galerijam in umetnikom seveda treba ponuditi več kot zgolj priložnostni nastop na bienalu.24 V želji najti čim več možnosti za pripravo več razstav v Ljubljani je Kržišnik predlagal, da se tudi v slovenskem prostoru oblikuje manjšo galerijo po tujem vzoru, ki bi bila nekakšen slovenski adut v svetovni

International Networking and the Significance of the Mala Galerija (est. 1959) From the very beginning, in his desire to bring leading foreign artists to the Ljubljana print exhibition, Kržišnik established connections with important print publishers, studios, auction houses, and galleries. These connections developed into lasting collaborations, which benefitted both the foreign partners, who were thus able to present their “protégés” at the Ljubljana biennial, and the organizer himself. But if Kržišnik hoped to use these collaborations to benefit Slovene artists as well, he would naturally have to offer foreign galleries and artists something more than just the chance to participate in the biennial.24 Wishing to have as many opportunities as possible to prepare more exhibitions in Ljubljana, Kržišnik proposed creating a smaller gallery in Slovenia based on the foreign model; this would be a way for Slovenia to enter the global gallery network. Unlike the Moderna galerija, it would be a more informal space that was also more flexible and adaptable for various kinds of exhibitions and collaborations.  ere both local and foreign artists H would exhibit their latest works, from ten to fifteen canvases, sculptures, or

24 24

22

V šestdesetih letih med sodelavci bienala najdemo Denise René, ki je vodila istoimensko galerijo, ki se je posvečala predvsem promociji geometrične abstrakcije, Bernarda Gheerbranta, ustanovitelja povojnega srečevališča pariške inteligence, galerije La Hune. Kržišnik je vzpostavil tudi stike z legendarnim grafičnim ateljejem in založbo Lacourière-Frélaut, kjer so med drugim tiskali Piccasso, Chagall, Miró, med italijanskimi galerijami pa izpostavimo milansko Gallerio del Naviglio, ki jo je ustanovil znameniti Carlo Cardazzo in je bila dom italijanske povojne avantgarde.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

Among the gallerists who partnered with the Ljubljana biennial in the 1960s we find Denise René, whose gallery was devoted primarily to promoting geometric abstraction, and Bernard Gheerbrant, the founder of the La Hune gallery, a post-war meeting place of Paris’s intellectual elite. Kržišnik also developed connections with the legendary print studio and publishing house Lacourière-Frélaut, where, among others, Picasso, Chagall, and Miró printed their works. Of the Italian galleries Kržišnik worked with, we should highlight Galleria del Naviglio in Milan, founded by renowned art dealer Carlo Cardazzo, which was home to Italy’s post-war avant-garde.


[10] Vhod v Malo galerijo ob

[10] Entrance to the Mala galerija

[11] Leta 1967 je v Mali galeriji

[11] David Hockney exhibited at the

razstavi Hermana Heblerja leta 1976. Z dovoljenjem Moderne galerije, Ljubljana. razstavljal David Hockney. Foto: katalog razstave.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.�

during an exhibition by Herman Hebler in 1976. Photograph courtesy of Moderna galerija, Ljubljana. Mala galerija in 1967. The photograph is from the exhibition catalogue.

23


prints. A noble rivalry would enable mutual comparisons, and the gallery would strive to exchange exhibitions with similar galleries around the world and also take over communicating with them, and it would be responsible for placing Yugoslav artists [in foreign galleries].25

galerijski mreži. V nasprotju z Moderno galerijo bi bil ta prostor bolj neformalnega značaja, pa tudi bolj gibek in prilagodljiv za različne tipe razstav in sodelovanja.  V njej bi domači in tuji avtorji » razstavljali svoja najnovejša dela, deset do petnajst platen, plastik ali grafičnih listov. Plemenito tekmovanje bi omogočilo medsebojno primerjanje, galerija bi si prizadevala za izmenjave razstav s podobnimi galerijami po svetu in prevzela tudi komunikacijo z njimi in bi skrbela za plasiranje jugoslovanskih umetnikov.«25 V času, ko so bile zapisane zgornje besede, je Kržišnik idejo v resnici že uresničeval. Leta 1959 je bila v manjši galeriji na današnji Slovenski cesti otvoritev nove galerije, ki jo je Moderna galerija v upravljanje prevzela od Društva likovnih umetnikov.26 Mala galerija je v naslednjih letih pripravljala samostojne razstave jugoslovanskih umetnikov, gostila pa je tudi svetovno pomembna imena, med drugim italijanske umetnike Giuseppeja Santomasa, Getulia Alvianija in Giuseppeja Capogrossija, Britanca Davida Hockneyja in Kennetha Armitagea, nemškega avantgardista Herberta Kaufmanna. Logistično enostavnejši formati razstav in njihovi krajši termini so omogočili, da so se v Mali galeriji lahko zvrstila gostovanja petih ali več tujih umetnikov na leto, s čimer je začela aktivno zapolnjevati manko na slovenskem likovnem prizorišču.

25 26

24

Kržišnik, »Naša likovna umetnost u svetu«, str. 10. Urška Barut, Petja Grafenauer in Nataša Ivanović, »Kako je Mala galerija prenehala biti društvena in postala moderna«, Likovne besede, št. 113, 2019, str. 33-38.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

By the time these words were written, Kržišnik had in fact realized his idea. In 1959, the Moderna galerija assumed control from the Association of Visual Artists of a small space on today’s Slovenska Avenue and opened the Mala galerija (the Little Gallery).26 In the following years, this gallery, along with organizing solo shows by Yugoslav artists, hosted exhibitions by such renowned artists as Giuseppe Santomaso, Getulio Alviani, and Giuseppe Capogrossi from Italy; David Hockney and Kenneth Armitage from Britain; and the German avant-garde artist Herbert Kaufmann. The logistically simpler format of the exhibitions, along with their shorter runs, made it possible for the Mala galerija to host five or more foreign artists a year; in this way the gallery began to actively fill a noticeable void in the Slovene art scene.

25 26

Kržišnik, “Naša likovna umetnost u svetu”, p. 10. Urška Barut, Petja Grafenauer and Nataša Ivanović, “Kako je Mala galerija prenehala biti društvena in postala moderna”, Likovne besede, no. 113, 2019, pp. 33-38.


[12] Pogled v razstavni prostor

Male galerije ob razstavi nemškega umetnika Hapa Grieshaberja leta 1962. Z dovoljenjem Moderne galerije, Ljubljana.

[13] Kržišnik v pogovoru z

italijanskim umetnikom Getuliem Alvianijem ob otvoritvi njegove razstave v Mali galeriji leta 1961. Z dovoljenjem Moderne galerije, Ljubljana.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

[12] A view of the exhibition space at the Mala galerija during an exhibition by the German artist Hap Grieshaber, 1962. Photograph courtesy Moderna galerija, Ljubljana.

[13] Kržišnik speaking with the

Italian artist Getulio Alviani at the opening of Alviani’s exhibition at the Mala galerija in 1961. Photograph courtesy Moderna galerija, Ljubljana.

25


Kržišnikov krog umetnikov

V času okoli leta 1960 je bil teren za prodor slovenskih umetnikov vzpostavljen. V tej fazi pa je bilo, kot poudarja Kržišnik, zelo pomembno skrbno in na podlagi strogih kriterijev izluščiti manjši nabor umetnikov, ki bodo dobili priložnost za mednarodni nastop in s tem njegovo vsestransko menedžersko podporo. Čeprav je Kržišnik sodeloval tudi s skupino umetnikov srednje in starejše generacije (Francetom Miheličem, Rikom Debenjakom, Miho Malešem, Gabrijelom Stupico in drugimi), je še posebno pozorno sledil dogajanju med mladimi. V generacijah, izobraženih na novi Akademiji, je bilo proti koncu petdesetih let več zanimanja za grafiko, kar, glede na uspeh grafičnega bienala in naravnanost študijskega programa,27 seveda ni presenetljivo. Karel Zelenko in Marjan Pogačnik sta bila med prvimi, ki so se okoli leta 1955 v polju grafike pridružili starejšim kolegom;

27

26

Na Akademiji je kmalu po ustanovitvi, leta 1947, zaživela grafična specialka, ki jo je od leta 1950 vodil Riko Debenjak.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

The Kržišnik Circle of Artists Around 1960, then, the terrain was prepared for Slovene artists to penetrate the Western art world. But as Kržišnik had stressed, it was very important to single out, carefully and on the basis of strict criteria, the small number of artists who would be given the opportunity for an international appearance and receive his full managerial support. Although Kržišnik also collaborated with a group of artists in their forties and fifties (including among others France Mihelič, Riko Debenjak, Miha Maleš, and Gabrijel Stupica), he was particularly attentive to what was happening among younger artists. In the late 1950s, there was an increased interest in printmaking among those who had received their training at the new Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana; this was not surprising given the success of the Biennial of Graphic Arts and the direction of the academy’s programme.27 Around 1955, Karel Zelenko and Marjan Pogačnik were among the first to join their older colleagues in the field of printmaking; they were followed a few years later by two younger artists, Vladimir Makuc and Bogdan Borčić, while by the end of the 1950s, Janez Bernik was proving to be a printmaker and painter of particular promise. In such a dynamic and ambitious time and place, these and a number of younger

27

Not long after its founding in 1947, the Ljubljana art academy began offering a master class in printmaking, which Riko Debenjak began teaching in 1950.


[14/15/16] Fotografije iz

[14/15/16] These photographs were

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

27

družabnega sprejema, ki ga je ob 11. grafičnem bienalu v svoji hiši v Žirovnici gostil Zoran Kržišnik. Njegovo razkošno opremljeno domovanje bi lahko opisali kar kot manjšo galerijo, saj se je v njem trlo del pomembnih slovenskih in svetovnih umetnikov. Poleg tujih galeristov, kritikov in drugih pomembnežev med gosti opazimo tudi hrvaško umetnico Jagodo Buić, članico Grupe 69 in mojstrico tapiserije (fotografija št. 16). Foto: Arhiv MGLC.

taken at reception hosted by Zoran Kržišnik in his own house in Žirovnica, in connection with the 11th Biennial of Graphic Arts. His lavishly furnished home might well be described as a small gallery – it overflowed with works by major Slovene and international artists. Along with foreign gallerists, critics, and other important guests, we also see the Croatian artist Jagoda Buić, who was a member of Grupa 69 and a superb tapestry maker (photograph no. 16). Photographs: Archive of MGLC.


28

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


sledila sta nekaj let mlajša Vladimir Makuc in Bogdan Borčić, ob koncu petdesetih let pa se je za še posebno perspektivnega grafika in slikarja izkazal Janez Bernik. Ti in nekateri drugi mlajši umetniki28 so v dinamičnem in ambicioznem prostoru in času začeli dobivati priložnosti na razstavah doma pa tudi prostor v jugoslovanskih selekcijah v tujini. Z Janezom Bernikom je Kržišnik razvil še posebno tesno sodelovanje. Z njegovimi zgodnjimi uspehi, razstavami v uglednih galerijah in prestižnimi mednarodnimi nagradami29 je princip tesnega sodelovanja med umetnikom in Kržišnikom kot »agentom« prvič pokazal izrazite rezultate. Ob udeležbah in nagradah na mednarodnih bienalih so še posebno zanimive situacije, ko je bil Kržišnik kot član žirije celo neposredno vpleten v odločanje o podelitvi nagrade slovenskim umetnikom. Do take situacije je denimo prišlo leta 1962, ko je Kržišnik sodeloval v žiriji tokijskega grafičnega bienala.30 Na vprašanje, ali je bilo dogovorjeno, da bo najvišjo nagrado prejel Janez Bernik, je sicer

artists28 started receiving opportunities for both local exhibitions and places in Yugoslav presentations abroad. Kržišnik developed an especially close relationship with Janez Bernik. His early achievements – exhibitions in important galleries and prestigious international awards29 – represent the first clear results of the principle of an artist closely collaborating with Kržišnik as his “agent”. With regard to artists’ success in international biennials, there were a few particularly interesting occasions when Kržišnik, as a jury member, was directly involved in awarding prizes to Slovene artists. One such occasion occurred in 1962, when Kržišnik was on the jury at the Tokyo print biennial, where Janez Bernik won the grand prize.30 When Kržišnik was asked if there had been any prior agreement about the award, he replied in the negative, but noted that his fellow jury member, the famous French art critic Pierre Restany, had characterized him (Kržišnik) as being very persuasive:

28 28

V nadaljevanju šestdesetih let so se omenjenim prvim generacijam na razstavah v tujini pridružili še nekateri slovenski grafiki oziroma grafiki iz drugih jugoslovanskih republik, povezani z Ljubljano (Kiar Meško, Adriana Maraž, Dževad Hozo, Mersad Berber …). V želji povezati kakovostno grafično tradicijo in sodobno produkcijo, povezano s študijem na ljubljanski Akademiji, z renomejem bienala ter podobo Ljubljane kot svetovnega grafičnega središča, je Kržišnik za to skupino začel uporabljati termin ljubljanska grafična šola. 29 Bernik je nagrado za grafiko prejel na drugem pariškem bienalu (1961), naslednje leto eno od nagrad za slikarstvo v Benetkah, 1965. pa še glavno mednarodno nagrado za grafiko v São Paulu. Vmes je leta 1962 dosegel še eno izjemno priznanje, veliko nagrado na grafičnem bienalu v Tokiu. 30 V žiriji so bili še Pierre Restany, Giulio Carlo Argan in domačin Masayoshi Homma.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

As the 1960s progressed, the first generations of artists exhibiting abroad were joined by a number of other Slovene printmakers as well as those from other Yugoslav republics who had ties to Ljubljana (Kiar Meško, Adriana Maraž, Dževad Hozo, Mersad Berber, etc.). Kržišnik, wishing to link the strong printmaking tradition and contemporary art production connected with the programme at the Ljubljana academy to the fame of the biennial and Ljubljana’s image as a global centre for graphic arts, started referring to this group as the Ljubljana School of Graphic Arts. 29 Bernik was awarded a prize for printmaking at the 2nd Paris Biennial in 1961, a prize for painting at the Venice Biennale the following year, and the main international prize for printmaking at the São Paulo Biennial in 1965. In 1962, he received yet another extraordinary honour: the grand prize at the print biennial in Tokyo. 30 Also on the jury were Pierre Restany, Giulio Carlo Argan, and the Japanese art critic Masayoshi Homma.

29


30

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


 estany writes that I was someone R who knew how to argue for his artists, while he himself had doubts: the dilemma was whether Janez Bernik or Robert Rauschenberg should be given the award. In the end, Restany writes, Kržišnik convinced us.31

odgovoril negativno, je pa poudaril, da ga je sožirant Restany, slavni francoski kritik, opisal kot zelo prepričljivega:  Restany piše, da sem prav jaz » znal zagovarjati svoje avtorje, medtem ko je bil sam v dvomih – šlo je za dilemo, ali naj bi dobil nagrado Janez Bernik ali Robert Rauschenberg – na koncu, piše Restany, nas je Kržišnik prepričal.«31

Kržišnik’s personal involvement, confidence, and determination – here and probably on many other occasions – provided crucial support to the efforts of Slovene artists.

Kržišnikov osebni nastop, samozavest in odločnost so se, kot verjetno še marsikdaj, izkazali za ključno oporo prizadevanju slovenskih umetnikov.

31

Zoran Kržišnik, »Ostaja nam bogata dediščina« (intervju z Marijanom Zlobcem), Delo, Sobotna priloga, 26. 6. 1993, str. 26.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

31

Zoran Kržišnik, “Ostaja nam bogata dediščina”, interview with Marijan Zlobec, Delo, Sobotna priloga, 26 June 1993, p. 26.

31


Zasebne galerije in prodajni uspehi slovenskih umetnikov

Iz pregleda biografij umetnikov, ki so v šestdesetih letih najpogosteje nastopali v tujini, je razvidno uresničevanje Kržišnikove strategije, po kateri je ključ do mednarodnega uspeha v tem, da umetniki ne prodrejo zgolj v posamične pore umetnostnega sistema, temveč da so v njem vseprisotni. Ob nagradah, ki so rezultat udeležbe na mednarodnih bienalih, so bila zelo pomembna tudi vabila za sodelovanje z grafičnimi ateljeji in založbami, predvsem pa sodelovanje z galerijami. Slovenski umetniki so imeli v šestdesetih letih vedno pogosteje možnost predstaviti se na samostojnih razstavah v vrsti zasebnih, manjših, a prodornih in komercialno uspešnih galerijah v Franciji, še zlasti pa v Italiji in Zahodni Nemčiji.32 Med tovrstnimi razstavami, ki so za mednarodno

32

32

Omenjene galerije so nekonvencionalna razstavišča, ki so pogosto hkrati knjigarne, kavarne, prostor umetniških razprav. Večinoma jih ustanavljajo in vodijo posamezniki, ki opravljajo več vlog in so središčne osebnosti, okoli katerih se zbira umetniška, kritiška in druga javnost v določenem umetniškem in kulturnem okolju.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

Private Galleries and the Commercial Success of Slovene Artists A review of the biographies of the artists who appeared most frequently in foreign exhibitions in the 1960s clearly shows that Kržišnik’s strategy was being realized: here, the key to international success was not simply that artists achieve success in isolated parts of the art system, but that they are ubiquitous throughout it. Along with the awards that came from participating in international biennials, also very important were invitations to work with print studios, publishing houses, and, especially, galleries. In the 1960s, Slovene artists had increasing opportunities to present their work in solo exhibitions at a range of small but significant and commercially successful private galleries in France and, especially, in Italy and West Germany.32 Of these shows, which were certainly very important in developing the international visibility of Slovene artists, I will mention only a few. Janez Bernik was given a solo exhibition at the La Hune gallery in Paris, followed by shows at the Kleine Grafik-galerie in Bremen33 and the La Loggia gallery in Bologna. Around the same time, Gabrijel Stupica had a show at Galleria L’Attico in Rome (his first in Italy), while Slovene

32

33

The galleries mentioned here were unconventional exhibition venues, as in many cases they also were bookshops, cafés, and places for artistic discussions. For the most part, they were founded and run by individuals who carried out a variety of roles and around whom gathered artists, critics, and other interested people in the specific artistic and cultural environment. The gallery was run by the German artist Hans D. Voss, who had a solo show at the Mala galerija in Ljubljana in 1967.


[17] Pogled v knjigarniški in galerijski

[17] View of the La Hune bookshop-

[18] Izložba galerije in knjigarne La

[18] The La Hune shop window, ca.

prostor La Hune. Foto: Collection Jacqueline et Bernard Gheerbrant. Estampes, etc., prodajni katalog, Pariz, Calmels Cohen, 2005, str. 8. Z dovoljenjem: Denis Gheerbrant.

Hune, okoli leta 1967. Foto: Collection Jacqueline et Bernard Gheerbrant. Estampes, etc., prodajni katalog, Calmels Cohen, Pariz, 2005, str. 5. Z dovoljenjem: Denis Gheerbrant.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

gallery. Photograph from the sales catalogue Collection Jacqueline et Bernard Gheerbrant: Estampes, etc., Calmels Cohen, Paris, 2005, p. 8. Courtesy Denis Gheerbrant. 1967. Photograph from the sales catalogue Collection Jacqueline et Bernard Gheerbrant, p. 5. Courtesy Denis Gheerbrant.

33


[19] Korespondenca med Bernardom Gheerbrantom, ustanoviteljem knjigarne in galerije La Hune v Parizu, in Zoranom Kržišnikom, 5. 7. 1963. Arhiv MGLC.

[19] A letter from Bernard

Gheerbrant, the founder of the La Hune bookshop and gallery in Paris, to Zoran Kržišnik, dated 5 July 1963. Archive of MGLC.

Pismo, ohranjeno v bienalskem arhivu, kaže na to, da je Bernard Gheerbrant, vodja galerije La Hune, ob petem grafičnem bienalu leta 1963 osebno obiskal Ljubljano. V tem obdobju sta s Kržišnikom že aktivno sodelovala. Iz pisma namreč izvemo, da je bila razstava brazilskega grafika Arthurja-Luiza Pize, ki se je odprla v Mali galeriji tik pred začetkom bienala, pripravljena po Gheerbrantovem posredovanju, po drugi strani pa Gheerbrant v korespondenci predlaga, da bi v Parizu pripravili razstavo slovenskega umetnika, Janeza Bernika ali Rika Debenjaka. Oba sta v resnici dobila možnost samostojno razstavljati v znameniti pariški galeriji La Hune, Bernik še istega leta, Debenjak pa leta 1968.

34

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

This letter, preserved in the archive of the Biennial of Graphic Arts, indicates that Bernard Gheerbrant, the director of the La Hune gallery, visited Ljubljana in 1963 on the occasion of the 5th Biennial. During this period he and Kržišnik worked actively together. We learn from the letter that an exhibition by the Brazilian printmaker Arthur-Luiz Piza, which had opened at the Mala galerija just before the biennial, was prepared through Gheerbrant’s mediation; also in the letter, Gheerbrant proposes that he and Kržišnik organize an exhibition of a Slovene artist in Paris, either Janez Bernik or Riko Debenjak. In fact, both artists had the opportunity to exhibit at the famous La Hune gallery: Bernik in 1963, and Debenjak in 1968.


“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

35


36

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


vidnost slovenskih umetnikov gotovo zelo pomembne, izpostavimo zgolj nekaj primerov. Janez Bernik je prišel do samostojne razstave v pariški galeriji La Hune, sledili pa sta razstavi v Kleine Grafik-galerie v nemškem Bremnu33 in galeriji La Loggia v Bologni. V isti čas sega razstava Gabrijela Stupice v galeriji L'Attico v Rimu, njegova prva v Italiji in gostovanje slovenskih grafikov v knjigarni in galeriji Due Ruote (Galleria Due Ruote) v Vicenzi. V svojih galerijah so razstave jugoslovanskih umetnikov pripravljali tudi slavni nemški galeristi, kot so Aenne Abels v Kölnu, Günter Pooch (Galerie Gunar) v Düsseldorfu ter Ruth Nohl v Siegnu. Poleg Nemčije in Italije pa Kržišnik izpostavlja tudi pomen avstrijske galerije v naši neposredni bližini, Galerie 61 v Celovcu, v kateri je sam v šestdesetih letih opravljal vlogo umetniškega svetovalca in je usmerjal njen razstavni program. Galerija, ki je imela »izbrano zbirateljsko občinstvo«, je, ne povsem presenetljivo, »pomagala plasirati tudi slovenske umetnike v širši srednjeevropski prostor«.34 Ob tem, ko omenjamo zasebne galerije, se ne moremo izogniti vprašanju uspeha slovenskih umetnikov na tujem umetniškem trgu. Zgodovina tega procesa sega že v prvo polovico petdesetih let, ko so bila dela nekaterih slovenskih umetnikov (Riko Debenjak, Božidar Jakac ...) umeščena na razne prodajne razstave v tujini, še zlasti v Švici in Avstriji,

33

Galerijo je vodil nemški umetnik Hans D. Voss, ki je imel leta 1967 samostojno razstavo v ljubljanski Mali galeriji. 34 Kržišnik, Prodor slovenske likovne umetnosti v mednarodni prostor, sine pag.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

printmakers were on display at the Due Ruote bookshop/gallery in Vicenza. Yugoslav artists were also given shows in such famous West German galleries as those of Aenne Abels in Cologne, Günter Pooch in Düsseldorf (Galerie Gunar), and Ruth Nohl in Siegen. Apart from West German and Italian galleries, Kržišnik underscored the importance of Galerie 61, in Klagenfurt, Austria, in Slovenia’s immediate vicinity; in the 1960s, he served as a consultant for the gallery and guided its exhibition programme. It is not entirely surprising, then, that this gallery, which had a “select art-collecting public”, “helped to launch Slovene artists in the wider Central European region”.34 When we talk about private galleries, we must also ask about the success of Slovene artists in the foreign art market. The history of this process goes back to the first half of the 1950s, when artworks by several Slovene artists (Riko Debenjak, Božidar Jakac, and others) were included in various foreign commercial exhibitions, notably in Switzerland and Austria; in that period, however, the small and little-known Slovene art scene had only sporadic points of entry to the market. As foreign artists began appearing more often in Ljubljana – at the invitation of the Moderna galerija, the Mala galerija, and the Biennial of Graphic Arts – new opportunities opened for placing Yugoslav artists on the foreign market.35

34 35

Kržišnik, “Prodor slovenske likovne umetnosti v mednarodni prostor”, unpaginated. In 1961, a journalist reported on “the hero of last year’s biennial in Venice, Dušan Džamonja, who received an award and, in addition, sold ten of his sculptures”. He went on to comment that we can “judge the success of an artist’s penetration abroad . . . at least in part by the commercial success his works achieve” (“Naša umetnost v tujini”, p. 7). This sort of restrained satisfaction aptly illustrates the general discomfort in talking about buying and selling art.

37


vendar pa je imela majhna in v tujini slabo znana umetnostna scena v tem času le posamične vstopne točke. Ko so začeli v Ljubljano umetnike pogosteje privabljati Moderna galerija, Mala galerija ter grafični bienale, je bilo tudi priložnosti za umeščanje jugoslovanskih umetnikov na tujem trgu vedno več.35 Nekaj zgodnejših primerov prodaje del slovenskih umetnikov tujim kupcem se je odvilo kar na domačem pragu, v sklopu grafičnega bienala.36 Leta 1959, ob tretjem bienalu, beležimo dva tovrstna primera. Že omenjeni Nesto Jacometti, lastnik grafične založbe, v kateri je delal Veno Pilon, je tega leta odkupil nekaj del Janeza Bernika.37 Na istem bienalu pa je, po posredovanju Gustava Groschwitza, galerista in žiranta na bienalu, ameriški Oregon State College za 1200 ameriških dolarjev odkupil celotno selekcijo jugoslovanskih avtorjev, razstavljeno tega leta.38

35

36

37 38

38

Leta 1961 novinar poroča o »junaku lanskoletnega bienala v Benetkah, Dušanu Džamonji, ki je prejel nagrado, ob tem pa prodal tudi deset svojih plastik«. Novico pospremi s komentarjem, da lahko »o uspešnosti prodora kakega likovnika v tujino […] v skrajni meri sodimo tudi po komercialnih uspehih, ki jih dosegajo njegova dela« (»Naša umetnost v tujini«, str. 7). Tovrstno zadržano zadovoljstvo dobro ponazarja splošen občutek nekakšnega nelagodja ob omembi trgovanja z umetninami. Čeprav dela v dvoranah in katalogih niso bila opremljena s cenami, je pravilnik omogočal tudi nakup razstavljenih del. Natančen obseg in način tega trženja v zaledju grafičnega bienala bodo dale prihodnje raziskave. Kasneje je Jacometti odkupil še več del slovenskih umetnikov. »Štiri desetletja v Parizu (1928–1968)«. Zapisnik seje Sekretariata za organizacijo mednarodnih grafičnih razstav, 26. 11. 1958. Arhiv MGLC.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

Some of the earliest sales of works by Slovene artists to foreign buyers, in fact, took place right in Slovenia, in relation to Ljubljana’s print biennial.36 We can note two such examples in 1959, on the occasion of the third biennial. That year Nesto Jacometti, the owner of a print publishing house where Veno Pilon worked, purchased a few works by Janez Bernik.37 At the same biennial, Oregon State College, in the United States, through the mediation of the gallerist Gustav Groschwitz, who was on the awards jury, purchased the entire selection of Yugoslav artists exhibited that year, for the price of 1,200 US dollars.38

36

37 38

Although works were not accompanied by prices, either in the exhibition rooms or in the catalogues, the biennial’s rules did allow for the purchase of exhibited artworks. The precise scope and manner of the commerce that took place behind the scenes at the Ljubljana biennial will have to be determined by future research. Jacometti later purchased other works by Slovene artists; see “Štiri desetletja v Parizu (1928–1968)”. Minutes of the session of the Secretariat for the Organization of International Exhibitions of Graphic Art, 26 November 1958, Archive of MGLC.


[20] Katalog skupinske

[20] Catalogue for the exhibition

[21] Pogled v galerijski

[21] View of the Galerie Palette.

razstave Trije jugoslovanski slikarji Jožeta Ciuhe, Franceta Slane in Iveta Šubica iz leta 1960 v galeriji Palette-Röderhaus v mestu Wuppertal na zahodu Nemčije. prostor Palette. Z dovoljenjem: dr. Eike Pies.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

Drei jugoslawische Maler (Three Yugoslav Painters), which presented work by Jože Ciuha, France Slane, and Ive Šubic at the Galerie Palette-Röderhaus in Wuppertal, West Germany, in 1960. Courtesy dr. Eike Pies.

39


Manjša prizorišča, na katerih so v šestdesetih letih in kasneje razstavljali slovenski in drugi jugoslovanski umetniki, pogosto niso bila namenjena zgolj razstavni dejavnosti in prodaji umetniških del, temveč so vzporedno obratovala kot knjigarne, kavarne, gostilne. V njih so lastniki – pogosto v sodelovanju z umetniki, umetniškimi skupinami, drugimi kulturniki in intelektualci – vodili in razvijali galerijsko dejavnost.

The small venues where Slovene and other Yugoslav artists exhibited in the 1960s and later were in many cases not intended solely for the display and sale of art but also operated as bookshops, cafés, and pubs. In such venues, the owners – often in collaboration with artists, art groups, and other cultural and intellectual figures – managed and developed their gallery business.

[22] Alfred Röder (na desni), vodja

galerije Palette-Röderhaus, ter člani umetniške skupine rbk (Gruppe Ring bildender Künstler), ki so z Röderjem sodelovali pri vodenju galerije. Foto: izrez z naslovnice monografije Grenzenlos, gruppe rbk – Kunst & Künstler 1946–1996 (Solingen, Brockhaus, 1997). Z dovoljenjem: dr. Eike Pies.

[22] Gallery director Alfred Röder

(right) with members of the “gruppe rbk” (Ring bildender Künstler), who comanaged the gallery with Röder. Detail from the cover of the monograph Grenzenlos, gruppe rbk – Kunst & Künstler 1946–1996 (Brockhaus, Solingen, 1997). Courtesy dr. Eike Pies.

40

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


V šestdesetih letih beležimo še nekaj odkupov s strani javnih institucij,39 za večji vir zaslužka v tem desetletju pa lahko verjetno označimo prodajo, ki se je odvijala ob razstavah slovenskih umetnikov v zasebnih galerijah. Konkretnih podatkov ni veliko, tisti, ki obstajajo, pa dajejo občutek o dinamičnem prometu. Poročilo o razstavi slovenskih grafikov v galeriji Grafica Uno v Veroni leta 1968, na kateri so sodelovali Bernik, Borčić, Dževad Hozo, Jemec, Makuc, Adriana Maraž, Kiar Meško, Marjan Pogačnik in Zelenko navaja podatek o kar 114 prodanih grafikah. Za dela jugoslovanskih avtorjev naj bi bil zelo zagret tudi nemški umetnostni trg, kar je, glede na število razstav, ki so jih slovenski umetniki imeli v tamkajšnjih zasebnih galerijah, povsem mogoče.40

In the 1960s, we find a few more examples of purchases by public institutions,39 but the greatest source of earnings in this decade were probably sales made in conjunction with exhibitions of Slovene artists in private galleries. While we do not have a great deal of concrete statistics about such sales, those that do exist suggest a dynamic business. A report on an exhibition of Slovene prints at the Grafica Uno gallery in Verona in 1968, in which Bernik, Borčić, Dževad Hozo, Jemec, Makuc, Adriana Maraž, Kiar Meško, Marjan Pogačnik, and Zelenko all participated, states that no less than 114 prints were sold. The German market, too, is said to have been very interested in works by Yugoslav artists, which, considering the number of shows Slovene artists had in private German galleries, is entirely possible.40

39

39

Mediji so leta 1963 ob velikem gostovanju dela postavitve z ljubljanskega grafičnega bienala v osrednjem avstrijskem umetnostnem muzeju, dunajski Albertini, poročali o odkupu del treh slovenskih grafikov. Glej: »Razstava grafik z mednarodnega bienala v Ljubljani«, Delo, 24. 10. 1963, str. 5. 40 Zapisnik I. seje delovnega odbora Sekretariata za mednarodni grafični bienale, 27. 9. 1968. Arhiv MGLC.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

In 1963, in connection with a large visiting exhibition of a section of the installation from the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, which took place in Vienna at the Albertina, Austria’s central art museum, the press reported on the purchase of works by three Slovene printmakers; see “Razstava grafik z mednarodnega bienala v Ljubljani”, Delo, 24 October 1963, p. 5. 40 Minutes of the first session of the working committee of the Secretariat for the Organization of International Exhibitions of Graphic Art, 27 September 1968, Archive of MGLC.

41


[23] Plakat razstave

Jugoslovanska grafika, Galerie im Griechenbeisl, Dunaj, 10.–28. 1. 1961. Razstavljali so Janez Bernik, Riko Debenjak, Boško Karanović, Ordan Petlevski, Zlatko Prica in Mladen Srbinović. Izbor umetnikov in besedilo v katalogu je pripravil Zoran Kržišnik.

[24] Pogled na še vedno delujoče gostišče Griechenbeisl na Dunaju. Foto: Wikimedia Commons.

[25] »Presenečenje v

Griechenbeislu – barvita jugoslovanska grafika« se je glasil naslov v enem od nemških časopisov. Arhiv Belvedere, Dunaj, Geschäftsarchiv Galerie im Griechenbeisl, AKB_VN-18-S-2-7.

42

[23] Poster for the exhibition

Jugoslawische Graphik (Yugoslav Prints), Galerie im Griechenbeisl, Vienna, 10–28 January 1961. The exhibition presented work by Janez Bernik, Riko Debenjak, Boško Karanović, Ordan Petlevski, Zlatko Prica, and Mladen Srbinović. Zoran Kržišnik selected the artists and wrote the catalogue text.

[24] A view of the still-operating Griechenbeisl restaurant in Vienna. Photograph from Wikimedia Commons.

[25] The headline of a review in

one of the Austrian newspapers reads: “A Surprise in Griechenbeisl: Colourful Prints from Yugoslavia.” Courtesy of Archive of the Belvedere, Vienna, Geschäftsarchiv Galerie im Griechenbeisl, AKB_VN-18-S-2-7.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

43


Ameriško prizorišče in Adria Art (1967–1968)

V času, ko je Kržišnik začenjal menedžersko in direktorsko pot, je svojo energijo prednostno usmerjal v vzpostavljanje stikov z (zahodno)evropskim prostorom. Kljub logičnemu osredotočenju na Pariz kot umetnostno meko pa je bil Zoran Kržišnik že pred ustanovitvijo grafičnega bienala povezan tudi s posamezniki v drugih porajajočih se centrih, med katerimi so še zlasti pomembne ZDA. Leta 1962, torej v času, ko je New York počasi prevzemal primat svetovnega umetnostnega centra, je Kržišnik verjetno prvič tudi osebno odpotoval čez lužo. Ogledal si je svetovni sejem, ki se je leta 1962 odvil v Seattlu v zvezni državi Washington, poleg tega je obiskoval muzeje, galerije, likovne akademije in ateljeje na ameriški vzhodni in zahodni obali

44

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

The American Art Scene and the Adria Art Gallery (1967–1968) In the early part of his career as an art manager and museum director, Kržišnik focused his energies primarily on establishing connections with Western Europe. But despite a logical concentration on Paris as the Mecca of the art world, he was also connected, even before the Ljubljana graphic arts biennial was founded, with individuals in other emerging art centres, of which the United States was particularly important. In 1962, as New York was gradually assuming prominence as the world’s leading art centre, Kržišnik made what was probably his first transatlantic trip. He saw the World’s Fair in Seattle, visited museums, galleries, art academies, and artist’s studios on both American coasts, and forged new contacts.41 In an interview he gave soon after his return, we see his surprise at the vitality and energy of the American art scene, its excellent organization and promotional network, and of course its institutional base, which was dominated by hundreds of private

41

One of the important contacts Kržišnik made on this, or perhaps a subsequent, trip to the United States was Tatyana Grosman, the founder of one of the leading American print publishers, Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE). In 1963, she brought prints by Robert Rauschenberg, then a rising star in American art, to the Ljubljana biennial, at which he was awarded first prize. On Kržišnik’s collaboration with Grosman, see “Zoran Kržišnik, intervju z Beti Žerovc”, pp. 44–45; on the meaning and importance of Rauschenberg’s award in the context of Yugoslav–American cultural contacts, among other things, see Stefana Djokic, “Cultural Encounters and the Role of Art in Yugoslav–US Relations 1961–1966”, in Reinventing Eastern Europe: Imaginaries, Identities and Transformations, ed. Evinç Doğan, Transnational Press, London, 2019, pp. 44–46.


[26] »Slovenska galerija sredi New Yorka«, Tedenska tribuna, 3. 1. 1968, str. 8.

»19. april bo v našem likovnem življenju zapisan kot pomemben datum«; »Adria Art Gallery je shodila«; »Slovenska iniciativa za prodor jugoslovanske umetnosti« – slovenski in drugi jugoslovanski mediji so leta 1967 ponosno najavili odprtje prve jugoslovanske prodajne galerije v tujini.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

[26] “A Slovene gallery in the middle

of New York” reads the headline in Tedenska tribuna, 3 January 1968, p. 8.

“The nineteenth of April will be recorded as an important day in our artistic life”; “The Adria Art Gallery takes its first steps”; “A Slovene initiative to promote Yugoslav art” – in 1967, Slovene and other Yugoslav media proudly announced the opening of the first Yugoslav commercial gallery outside of Yugoslavia.

45


[27] Wurts Bros., stolpnica

na naslovu Madison Avenue 635, zgrajena leta 1956 po načrtih arhitekturnega biroja Emery Roth & Sons, v kateri je bila galerija Adria Art. Foto: Muzej mesta New York. X2010.7.1.10107

[28] Fotografija

razstavnega prostora Adria Art Gallery, objavljena v Vjesniku, 16. 4. 1967.

[27] The Wurts Bros tower

at 635 Madison Avenue, built in 1956 to plans by the architectural firm Emery Roth & Sons; the Adria Art Gallery was located here. Photograph courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.10107

[28] Photograph of the

exhibition space at the Adria Art Gallery, published in Vjesnik, 16 April 1967.

46

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


in navezoval stike.41 V intervjuju, ki ga je dal ob vrnitvi, opazimo njegovo presenečenje nad vitalnostjo in zagonom ameriške likovne scene, odlično organizacijsko in promocijsko mrežo in seveda institucionalno bazo s stotinami zasebnih galerij na čelu. Poročal je tudi, da je med ameriškimi gostitelji začutil »živo željo, da bi čim bolje in čim izčrpneje spoznali našo sodobno umetnost«.42 V naslednjih letih sta ameriška umetnost in ameriški umetnostni sistem postajala vse močnejša, Kržišnik pa je temu procesu sledil in mu prilagajal strategijo umeščanja slovenskih umetnikov.43 Leta 1967 je ameriško tržišče že označil kot najkonkurenčnejše, najbogatejše in v tem smislu ključno za uveljavitev jugoslovanskih umetnikov. Obenem pa ni bil zadovoljen z izkupičkom dotedanjih razstav, katerih potencial je

41

42 43

Med pomembne stike, ki jih je Kržišnik vzpostavil na tem ali naslednjih potovanjih v ZDA, štejemo Tatyano Grosman, ustanoviteljico ene vodilnih ameriških grafičnih založb, Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), ki je leta 1963 na grafični bienale pripeljala Roberta Rauschenberga, vzhajajočo zvezdo ameriške umetnosti, ki je tega leta na bienalu prejel prvo nagrado. O sodelovanju z Grosman: Kržišnik, »Zoran Kržišnik, intervju z Beti Žerovc«, str. 44–45; o sporočilih in pomenu Rauschenbergove nagrade v kontekstu jugoslovansko-ameriških kulturnih stikov med drugim v: Stefana Djokic, »Cultural Encounters and the Role of Art in Yugoslav-US Relations 1961–1966«, in Reinventing Eastern Europe: Imaginaries, Identities and Transformations (ur. Evinç Doğan), Transnational Press London, 2019, str. 44–46. M. Z., »Likovno življenje Amerike. Ob obisku ravnatelja Moderne galerije Zorana Kržišnika v ZDA«, Tedenska tribuna, 11. 12. 1962, str. 7. Omeniti velja zanimiv obisk ameriške delegacije z Dorothy T. Van Arsdale na čelu, vodjo oddelka za potujoče razstave pri Inštitutu Smithsonian (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service) v Ljubljani leta 1966. Van Arsdale je imela s Kržišnikom sestanek, na katerem so se dogovarjali za nadaljnje nastope jugoslovanskih umetnikov v tujini, pa tudi o potrebi, da se »moralni uspeh razstav« nadgradi s komercialnim uspehom jugoslovanskih umetnikov v ZDA. »Posredovanje jugoslovanskih likovnih del za ZDA«, Delo, 22. 7. 1966, str. 5.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

galleries. He also said that he could sense “a fervent desire” among his American hosts “to learn as much as possible, as thoroughly as possible, about our contemporary art”.42 In the following years, as America’s art and art system grew in strength, Kržišnik closely followed this progress and accordingly adapted his strategy for promoting Slovene artists.43 In 1967, he described the American art market as the most competitive and wealthiest in the world, which meant it was key to the international recognition of Yugoslav artists. At the same time, he was disappointed by sales from the exhibitions so far, whose potential, he believed, had not been sufficiently exploited.44 The founding of the Adria Art Gallery in New York in 1967 testifies to his ripening conviction that it was time to move forward. —•— Unlike the much later A+A Gallery, founded in the early 1990s in Madrid, Adria Art is today relatively unknown,45 so it seems appropriate to mention a few basic details about the project. Legally and financially, the main entity behind Adria Art was the Ljubljana-based company Intertrade, an ambitious and

42 43

44

45

M. Z., “Likovno življenje Amerike: Ob obisku ravnatelja Moderne galerije Zorana Kržišnika v ZDA”, Tedenska tribuna, 11 December 1962, p. 7. It is worth mentioning the interesting visit to Ljubljana in 1966 by an American delegation led by Dorothy T. Van Arsdale, the chief of the Traveling Exhibition Service at the Smithsonian Institution. Van Arsdale had a meeting with Kržišnik at which they discussed future participation by Yugoslav artists in foreign exhibitions as well as the need to augment the “moral success of exhibitions” with the commercial success of Yugoslav artists in the United States. See “Posredovanje jugoslovanskih likovnih del za ZDA”, Delo, 22 July 1966, p. 5. T. H., “Prodajni prozor u svijet: Prvi uspjesi jugoslovenske galerije Adria Art u New Yorku”, a clipping from a 1967 article in the clippings file of the Moderna galerija; the full publication information, however, is not provided. In her interview with Kržišnik, Beti Žerovc describes the gallery as a curious phenomenon: “Zoran Kržišnik, intervju z Beti Žerovc”, pp. 36, 44.

47


bil premalo izkoriščen.44 Ustanovitev galerije Adria Art v New Yorku leta 1967 priča o tem, da je v njem dozorelo prepričanje, da je treba stopiti korak naprej. —•— V nasprotju z mnogo mlajšo Galerijo A+A, ustanovljeno v začetku devetdesetih let v Madridu, je galerija Adria Art še danes razmeroma nepoznan fenomen,45 zato je morda primerno, da nekaj besed namenimo osnovnim podatkom o tem projektu. Pravno in finančno gledano je bil njegov glavni akter podjetje Intertrade iz Ljubljane, ambiciozno, mednarodno usmerjeno podjetje,46 ki se je za ta podvig odločilo zaradi vse večjega povpraševanja po umetniških delih v ZDA.47 Galerijo so odprli na strateško dobri lokaciji, v stolpnici na Aveniji Madison v newyorški četrti Upper East Side, kjer so še danes najbolj znani muzeji in galerije v mestu. Prevzeli so vse materialne stroške, ker pa se sami s prodajo umetniških del niso ukvarjali, so za strokovno vodenje galerije poprosili Moderno galerijo oziroma

44

45 46

47

48

T. H., »Prodajni prozor u svijet. Prvi uspjesi jugoslovenske galerije Adria Art u New Yorku«. Izrezek časopisnega članka iz leta 1967 je ohranjen v hemeroteki Moderne galerije, ni pa znano, v katerem mediju je bilo besedilo objavljeno. Na galerijo kot zanimiv fenomen opozarja Beti Žerovc v pogovoru z Zoranom Kržišnikom. »Zoran Kržišnik, intervju z Beti Žerovc«, str. 36, 44. Intertrade je leta 1964 sklenil posel z ameriškim računalniškim gigantom IBM in postal njegov jugoslovanski zastopnik. Poleg tega je podjetje v tujino izvažalo aluminij, smuči, pohištvo in druge izdelke. Glej: Josip Vrhovec, »Adria Art Inc., Madison Avenue. Slovenska iniciativa za prodor jugoslovanske umetnosti: od našega newyorškega dopisnika«, Delo, Sobotna priloga, 22. 4. 1967, str. 18. Kržišnik, »Nisam za uravnilovko u umetnosti«.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

internationally focused enterprise46 that undertook this venture because of the increasing American demand for artworks.47 The gallery opened in a strategic location – a Madison Avenue tower on New York’s Upper East Side, a neighbourhood that is still home to the city’s best-known museums and galleries. The company assumed all material costs, but since they themselves did not deal in the sale of art, they asked the Moderna galerija – which is to say, Zoran Kržišnik – to provide expert direction for the gallery.48 The exhibition programme Kržišnik prepared, which was launched at the beginning of 1967, was conceived as a series of group and solo exhibitions that presented contemporary painting, sculpture, printmaking, and tapestry. The focus was naturally on Yugoslav art, but there was also, for instance, a show devoted to Yugoslav and French tapestry. The accompanying exhibition catalogues, which Jože Brumen designed, were published in English with colour reproductions. In his statements to the press, Kržišnik naturally welcomed the Intertrade initiative. He expressed particular delight that the Slovene business sector understood the need for investment in culture and that it made sense. In Kržišnik’s view, an investment like that of Intertrade could only benefit the company, as it would elicit a positive response and thus be an “original and successful advertisement” for the company.49 This manner of collaboration, he believed, could be very profitable for artists, too. While Intertrade, as the financial backer, took a commission from

46

47 48

49

In 1964, Intertrade signed a deal with the American computing giant IBM to represent the company in Yugoslavia. Apart from this, Intertrade was an exporter of aluminium, skis, furniture, and other goods. See Josip Vrhovec, “Adria Art Inc., Madison Avenue: Slovenska iniciativa za prodor jugoslovanske umetnosti: od našega newyorškega dopisnika”, Delo, Sobotna priloga, 22 April 1967, p. 18. Kržišnik, “Nisam za uravnilovko u umetnosti”. From March 1968 on, Sergej Pavlin was also involved in the work of the gallery. See Sergej Pavlin, Arhitekt, pedagog, oblikovalec in slikar Sergej Pavlin, Didakta, Radovljica, 2011, pp. 94–95. Kržišnik, “Nisam za uravnilovko u umetnosti”.


[29] Art in Yugoslavia

- Contemporary Trends, razstavni katalog, Adria Art Gallery, New York, 1967. Oblikovanje: Jože Brumen.

[30] Janez Bernik,

razstavni katalog, Adria Art Gallery, New York, 1967. Oblikovanje: Jože Brumen.

[29] Art in Yugoslavia

- Contemporary Trends, exhibition catalogue, Adria Art Gallery, New York, 1967. Catalogue design by Jože Brumen.

[30] Janez Bernik,

exhibition catalogue, Adria Art Gallery, New York, 1967. Catalogue design by Jože Brumen.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

49


Zorana Kržišnika.48 Razstavni program, ki ga je pripravil, je zaživel v začetku leta 1967, zastavljen pa je bil kot serija skupinskih in samostojnih razstav, ki predstavljajo sodobno slikarstvo, skulpturo, grafiko in tapiserijo. Fokus je bil seveda na jugoslovanski umetnosti, so pa denimo pripravili tudi skupno predstavitev jugoslovanske in francoske tapiserije. Ob razstavah so izhajali katalogi v angleškem jeziku in z barvnimi reprodukcijami, oblikoval pa jih je Jože Brumen. Kržišnik je v odzivih za medije pobudo Intertrada seveda pozdravil. Predvsem je izrazil veselje, da je tudi v slovenskem gospodarskem prostoru zaživelo zavedanje, da je vlaganje v kulturo potrebno in smiselno. Po Kržišnikovem mnenju je investicija, kot je Intertradova, za podjetje lahko samo koristna, saj v javnosti sproži pozitiven odziv in je ta način za podjetje »izvirna in uspešna reklama«.49 Tudi za umetnike je lahko, po Kržišnikovem mnenju, ta način sodelovanja zelo profitabilen. Intertrade je od prodanih del kot financer vzel provizijo, preostalo pa izplačal umetnikom. Vsota, ki jo za svoja dela prejmejo avtorji, pa je neprimerljivo višja od cene, ki jo njihova dela lahko dosežejo tako na domačem kot tujem tržišču.50 Nasprotno so se ob novici o odprtju galerije v domači javnosti takoj pojavile tudi prve polemike. Za »do neke mere senzacijo« se je izkazalo že dejstvo, da je bila v New Yorku odprta jugoslovanska

48

Pri delu galerije je od marca 1968 sodeloval tudi Sergej Pavlin. Glej Sergej Pavlin, Arhitekt, pedagog, oblikovalec in slikar Sergej Pavlin, Radovljica, Didakta, 2011, str. 94–95. 49 Kržišnik, »Nisam za uravnilovko u umetnosti«. 50 T. H., »Prodajni prozor u svijet«.

50

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«

the sale of the artworks, the remainder was paid to the artists, and the amount they received for their works was incomparably higher than the prices they could get elsewhere, whether in the Yugoslav or foreign marketplace.50 The news of the gallery’s opening, however, at once stirred debate in the domestic press. The fact that a Yugoslav commercial gallery had opened in New York was in itself “something of a sensation”, but to top it all, its financial backer was not the state, but a private company. To general surprise, Kržišnik responded by explaining that in other countries it was not unusual for art to be connected to industry, and that many companies had their own galleries.51 He noted that, while in theory Yugoslav organizations were expected to seek innovative sources of funding, in practice this was not something society accepted. Art should receive special attention in socialism, but this did not mean that “socialism is a coffer from which money is simply taken”. Unlike America, Yugoslav society did not accept the idea that the work of art had a market value and was, in a way, a commodity like anything else.52 Still, judging from Kržišnik’s comments,53 as well as from reports in the press (including the foreign press54), the gallery was initially successful. Interest within the art world and among art buyers was large, and so were the gallery’s goals for the future, which envisioned the establishment of similar galleries elsewhere in the Americas.55 Apart from such ambitious plans, published reports and statements by leading figures at Intertrade suggest

50 T. H., “Prodajni prozor u svijet”. 51 Kržišnik, “Nisam za uravnilovko u umetnosti”. 52 Ibid. 53 Kržišnik explained: “It started out well. We were well received by both the media and gallery professionals.” Ibid. 54 A more detailed survey of reviews and articles relating to the exhibitions at the Adria Art Gallery will have to await future research. Here let me mention only an article that appeared in the major US newspaper, The New York Times: John Canaday, “Art: Three Samplings from Abroad”, New York Times, 22 April 1967 p. 27. 55 J. K., “Slovenska galerija sredi New Yorka”, Tedenska tribuna, 3 January 1968, p. 8.


galerija, ki je prodajnega značaja, povrhu pa njen financer ni država, temveč zasebno podjetje. Kržišnik je na začudenje odgovoril z razlago, da je v tujini praksa povezovanja umetnosti z industrijo zelo pogosta in da imajo številna podjetja svoje galerije.51 Pri tem je poudaril, da naj bi v Jugoslaviji v teoriji veljalo načelo iskanja inovativnih načinov financiranja, vendar v praksi družba tega ne sprejema. Umetnosti naj bi se v socializmu posvečala posebna pozornost, kar pa ne pomeni, »da je socializem skrinja, iz katere se denar samo jemlje«. Jugoslovanska družba, v nasprotju z ameriško, ne sprejema dejstva, da ima umetniško delo tržno vrednost in je, na neki način, blago kot katero koli drugo.52 Sicer pa je, sodeč po izjavah Zorana Kržišnika53 in poročilih novinarjev (tudi tujih54), galerija v začetku delovala uspešno. Interes strokovne javnosti in kupcev naj bi bil velik, visoki pa so bili tudi cilji, ki so predvidevali ustanavljanje podobnih galerij drugje po ameriški celini.55 Ob ambicioznih načrtih pa lahko iz objav in izjav vodilnih iz Intertrada razberemo, da je šlo za finančno izjemno zahteven in zato tvegan projekt. Po pisanju dopisnika Dela Josipa Vrhovca naj bi morala

51 Kržišnik, »Nisam za uravnilovko u umetnosti«. 52 Ibid. 53 »Začelo se je dobro. Sprejeti smo bili tako s strani medijev kot s strani galerijskih strokovnjakov«, je povedal Kržišnik. Ibid. 54 Natančnejši pregled kritik oziroma poročil ob razstavah v Adria Art Gallery bo moral biti naloga prihodnjih raziskav. Na tem mestu omenimo zgolj eno od objav v osrednjem newyorškem dnevniku New York Times: John Canaday, »Art: Three Samplings from Abroad«, New York Times, 22. 4. 1967, str. 27. 55 J. K., »Slovenska galerija sredi New Yorka«, Tedenska tribuna, 3. 1. 1968, str. 8.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

that the project was financially demanding and carried significant risk. Josip Vrhovec, a reporter for the newspaper Delo, wrote that in order for the gallery to cover the financial investment, it needed to bring in half a million dollars a year in sales.56 And in January 1968, more than six months after the gallery opened, investors remained wary, estimating that, at present, “it was not yet possible to speak of any business success”.57 Clearly, the following months, too, failed to produce the desired breakthrough, and, in autumn 1968, Adria Art Gallery permanently shut its doors. There appear to have been several problems. In Kržišnik’s opinion, the reason for the project’s lack of success was that Intertrade had taken too long to engage a person with the necessary gallery experience to run Adria Art.58 However, Sergej Pavlin, an architect and cultural worker who also worked on the project, explains in his memoir that the poor sales were due to the fact that foreign galleries, while certainly interested in purchasing works by Yugoslav artists, wished to circumvent the gallery’s middleman role in the hope of higher profits from the art. Consequently, Adria Art made most of its sales to acquaintances and Yugoslav diplomatic offices and never succeeded in expanding its circle of customers.59

56 57 58

Vrhovec, “Adria Art Inc., Madison Avenue”, p. 18. J. K., “Slovenska galerija sredi New Yorka”, p. 8. Kržišnik, “Zoran Kržišnik, intervju z Beti Žerovc”, p. 44. 59 Pavlin, Arhitekt, pedagog, oblikovalec in slikar, p. 95.

51


galerija za finančno kritje investicije imeti pol milijona dolarjev prometa na leto,56 januarja 1968, dobrega pol leta po odprtju, pa so investitorji še zadržani in ocenjujejo, da trenutno »še ni mogoče govoriti o nikakršnem poslovnem uspehu«.57 Tudi naslednji meseci očitno niso prinesli želenega preboja in galerija Adria Art je jeseni leta 1968 zaprla svoja vrata. Težav je bilo, kot kaže, več. Po Kržišnikovih besedah je bil razlog za neuspeh projekta v tem, da Intertrade za vodenje galerije ni pravočasno angažiral človeka z izkušnjami, potrebnimi za tovrstno delo.58 Sergej Pavlin, arhitekt in kulturni delavec, ki je prav tako sodeloval pri projektu Adria Art, pa je v svojih spominih pojasnil, da je bil razlog za slabo prodajo v tem, da so se tuje galerije, sicer zainteresirane za nakup del jugoslovanskih umetnikov, v želji po zaslužku želele izogniti posredništvu. Tako je galerija največ del prodala znancem in jugoslovanskim diplomatskim predstavništvom in ji ni uspelo razširiti svojega kroga kupcev.59

56 Vrhovec, »Adria Art Inc., Madison Avenue«, str. 18. 57 J. K., »Slovenska galerija sredi New Yorka«, str. 8. 58 Kržišnik, »Zoran Kržišnik, intervju z Beti Žerovc«, str. 44. 59 Pavlin, Arhitekt, pedagog, oblikovalec in slikar, str. 95.

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» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


Po utrjenih poteh v novo desetletje

Neuspeh galerije Adria Art na srečo ni končal nastopov jugoslovanskih umetnikov v ZDA. Verjetno najodmevnejša jugoslovanska predstavitev v ameriškem prostoru je nastopila ravno leto po zaprtju Adrie Art, ko so v MoMi pripravili veliko razstavo jugoslovanske grafike. Nadaljeval se je tudi niz samostojnih in skupinskih razstav umetnikov v pomembnih evropskih galerijah, preglednih razstav v najuglednejših muzejih, umetniki pa so dobivali priložnosti na vedno številnejših bienalih. V tem pogledu prehod v novo desetletje, ob katerem se bo ustavilo naše razmišljanje, ni pomenil bistvenega preloma. Ustrezneje bi bilo konec šestdesetih let označiti kot obdobje, ko so bile glavne smeri prodiranja v tujino, kot si jih je pred dobrimi desetimi leti zamislil Zoran Kržišnik, uspešno utrte.60

60 V tej smeri razmišlja tudi Kržišnik: »Z izzvenevanjem 60. let je bilo videti, da je prodor – kolikor gre za konico – ki ji mora seveda slediti širši razbor – dosežen.« Kržišnik, Prodor slovenske likovne umetnosti v mednarodni prostor, sine pag.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

Entering the New Decade along Well-Laid Routes Fortunately, the failure of Adria Art did not put an end to Yugoslav artists being shown in the United States. Perhaps the most prominent presentation of Yugoslav art in America took place exactly a year after the gallery closed, when New York’s Museum of Modern Art mounted a large exhibition of Yugoslav prints. In Europe, too, Yugoslav artists continued to have solo and group exhibitions in important galleries, as well as survey exhibitions in the most prestigious art museums, along with further opportunities to participate in the ever growing number of biennials. In this regard, the arrival of the 1970s – which is where our present discussion must end – did not represent some critical turning point. It makes better sense to view the late 1960s as a time when the routes for breaking into the Western art world, as Kržišnik had conceived them more than ten years earlier, were successfully laid.60 To be sure, the new decade – and even more, the 1980s – brought a new dynamism to the Slovene art scene, which had previously been rather compact, as well as several managerial efforts that sought to gain recognition for Slovene art

60 This was the view that Kržišnik himself took: “As the 1960s drew to a close, it was apparent that the breakthrough had been achieved, at least as far as the top artists were concerned, but of course this would have to be followed by a broader selection of artists.” Kržišnik, “Prodor slovenske likovne umetnosti v mednarodni prostor”, unpaginated.

53


[31] Zoran Kržišnik in člani

mednarodne žirije 12. grafičnega bienala med ogledovanjem razstavljenih del, Moderna galerija, 1977. Foto: Arhiv MGLC.

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[31] Zoran Kržišnik and members

of the international jury at the 12th Biennial of Graphic Arts as they view the exhibited works, Moderna galerija, 1977. Photograph: Archive of MGLC.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


Sedemdeseta, še bolj pa zgodnja osemdeseta leta so sicer prinesla novo dinamiko na slovensko do tega časa precej strnjeno umetnostno prizorišče, s tem pa tudi določene poskuse menedžiranja s ciljem prodora slovenske umetnosti v tujino.61 Vendarle pa je verjetno ustrezna ocena, da je bil domet umetnikov iz »Kržišnikovega kroga«, ki se je leta 1969 še dodatno konsolidiral z ustanovitvijo Grupe 69, občutno večji. Na temeljih v petdesetih in šestdesetih letih utrjenih poti so člani te skupine, mednarodno že uveljavljeni umetniki, nosilci preboja slovenske umetnosti v tujino in nekateri mlajši umetniki z Zoranom Kržišnikom na čelu v sedemdesetih in nadaljnih desetletjih z velikim uspehom nadaljevali nastopanje v tujini.62

abroad.61 Still, it is probably right to say that the Kržišnik circle of artists, a grouping that was further cemented in 1969 by the formation of “Grupa 69”, noticeably expanded their reach. The members of this circle – by now internationally recognized artists who had brought Slovene art into the global arena – as well as a number of younger artists guided by Zoran Kržišnik, following routes whose foundations were laid in the 1950s and 1960s, continued to exhibit in foreign countries with great success in the 1970s and the decades that followed.62

61

61

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Po eni strani so se pojavile nove javne in zasebne institucije, ki so do določene meje imele ambicijo delovati tudi na mednarodnem prizorišču. Še zlasti velja v komunikaciji z italijanskim prostorom izpostaviti pomen Obalnih galerij in kustosa Andreja Medveda. Ustanovitev skupine je pospremil nekakšen skupni manifest v katalogu prve razstave (Grupa 69, katalog razstave, Ljubljana, Grupa 69, 1969), v katerem so člani izrazili nezadovoljstvo nad ravnjo umetniške razprave in kakovosti pri nas. Menijo, da je »tempo razvoja umetnosti pri nas počasen in naš pristop k njej idiličen«, to pa naj bi v mednarodni konkurenci zaviralo možnosti za uspeh. Zapisali so, da gre pri Grupi 69 za »skupino izrazito delovnega značaja, ki želi občasno skupaj razstavljati in tako meriti moči« ter z razpravami »utrditi osnovne pozicije današnje likovne umetnosti in učvrstiti likovna merila«. Prav tako si obetajo »elastičnejših tehnično organizacijskih prijemov pri predstavljanju del doma in na tujem«. Čeprav je skupina v manifestu nastopila kritično do trenutne situacije na slovenski umetnostni sceni, je – ob dejstvu, da so jo sestavljali njeni vodilni akterji – ne moremo razumeti kot poskus preobrata, temveč prej kot formalizacijo že vzpostavljenih razmerij.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

62

Among other things, new public and private institutions appeared that, to some extent, hoped to operate also in the international sphere. Here, particularly with regard to communicating with the Italian art scene, it is worth mentioning the Obalne Galerije (Coastal Galleries) and the curator Andrej Medved. The group’s formation was accompanied by a sort of joint manifesto in the catalogue of their first exhibition (Grupa 69, exhibition catalogue, Grupa 69, Ljubljana, 1969), in which the members expressed their dissatisfaction with the level of artistic discussion and quality of art in Slovenia. They believed that “the pace of the development of art here is slow and our approach to it is idyllic”; this, they said, would impede chances for success in the international arena. They wrote that Grupa 69 was “a group with a distinctly working character, who occasionally wish to exhibit together and thus take the measure of our strength”; they wanted to engage in discussions that would “consolidate the basic positions of today’s visual art and bolster artistic standards”. They also anticipated “more pliable technical and organizational approaches to presenting works at home and abroad”. Although their manifesto was critical of the current situation, given that Grupa 69 was composed of the leading figures in the Slovene art world, we should not view the group as an attempt at revolution, but rather as the formalization of already established conditions.

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[32] Kržišnikov osebni izvod

kataloga inavguracijske razstave Grupe 69 v Vili Bled s podpisi vseh članov in gostov. Iz zapuščine Zorana Kržišnika, ki jo hrani MGLC.

[33] V letih mednarodnega

delovanja je Kržišnik navezal prijateljske stike z mnogimi svetovno znanimi kritiki, umetnostnimi zgodovinarji, galeristi in umetniki, kar je bilo izjemnega pomena za možnosti, ki so jih v tujini dobivali slovenski umetniki. Na fotografiji izvod kataloga Emilia Vedove z umetnikovim posvetilom. Iz zapuščine Zorana Kržišnika, ki jo hrani MGLC.

56

[32] Kržišnik’s personal copy of the

catalogue for the inaugural exhibition of Grupa 69 at Villa Bled, with signatures by all the group’s members and guests. From Zoran Kržišnik’s posthumous papers, held at MGLC.

[33] During his years of working

internationally, Kržišnik developed friendly ties with many renowned critics, art historians, gallerists, and artists – connections that were extremely important in providing Slovene artists with opportunities to exhibit abroad. The photograph shows a copy of a catalogue for an exhibition by Emilio Vedova inscribed by the artist. From Zoran Kržišnik’s posthumous papers, held at MGLC.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


[34] Karl-Heinz Hering, pomemben

nemški umetnostni zgodovinar, kurator, dolgoletni direktor Umetnostnega društva za Porenje in Vestfalijo (Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen) v Düsseldorfu, med žiriranjem na 11. grafičnem bienalu leta 1975 v Ljubljani. Foto: Arhiv MGLC.

“ A m I a manager? Yes, I am.”

[34] Karl-Heinz Hering, an important German art historian and curator and for many years the director of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Düsseldorf, is here shown judging the 11th Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana in 1975. Photograph: Archive of MGLC.

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[35] Direktor Salomon R.

Guggenheim muzeja v New Yorku, Thomas M. Messer, med žiriranjem leta 1975 v Ljubljani. Foto: Arhiv MGLC.

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[35] Thomas M. Messer, the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, judging the 11th Biennial in Ljubljana in 1975. Photograph: Archive of MGLC.

» M e n edžer da sem? Sem.«


Gregor Dražil

Gregor Dražil

»Menedžer da sem? Sem.« Zoran Kržišnik in začetki prodiranja slovenske moderne umetnosti na zahodno likovno prizorišče

“Am I a manager? Yes, I am.” Zoran Kržišnik and How Slovene Modern Art First Penetrated the Western Art World

Izdal in založil: Mednarodni grafični likovni center (MGLC) Zanj: Nevenka Šivavec Avtor besedila in izbor slikovnega gradiva: Gregor Dražil Prevod v angleščino: Rawley Grau Lektura slovenskega jezika: Postulat Oblikovanje: Ivian Kan Mujezinović / Ee Zahvala: Camille Chevallier, Denis Gheerbrant, Jana Intihar Ferjan, Stefan Lehner, dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck, dr. Eike Pies, Sabina Povšič. Tisk: Matformat Naklada: 300 izvodov Ljubljana, december 2020

Published by: International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) On its behalf: Nevenka Šivavec Author of the text and the selection of images: Gregor Dražil Slovene-to-English translation: Rawley Grau Design: Ivian Kan Mujezinović / Ee Special thanks: Camille Chevallier, Denis Gheerbrant, Jana Intihar Ferjan, Stefan Lehner, dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck, dr. Eike Pies, Sabina Povšič. Print: Matformat Edition: 300 copies Ljubljana, December 2020

Mednarodni grafični likovni center financirata The International Centre of Graphic Arts is supported by


CIP - Kataložni zapis o publikaciji Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica, Ljubljana 069.63:7.038.53(497.4) DRAŽIL, Gregor    „Menedžer da sem? Sem.“ : Zoran Kržišnik in začetki prodiranja slovenske moderne umetnosti na zahodno likovno prizorišče = „Am I a manager? Yes, I am.“ : Zoran Kržišnik and how Slovene modern art first penetrated the western art world / [avtor besedila in izbor slikovnega gradiva] Gregor Dražil ; [prevod v angleščino Rawley Grau]. - Ljubljana : Mednarodni grafični likovni center, 2020 ISBN 978-961-6229-83-8 COBISS.SI-ID 41724931


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Menedžer da sem? Sem. / Am I a Manager? Yes, I am.  

Gregor Dražil: Zoran Kržišnik in začetki prodiranja slovenske moderne umetnosti na zahodno likovno prizorišče / Zoran Kržišnik and How Slove...

Menedžer da sem? Sem. / Am I a Manager? Yes, I am.  

Gregor Dražil: Zoran Kržišnik in začetki prodiranja slovenske moderne umetnosti na zahodno likovno prizorišče / Zoran Kržišnik and How Slove...

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